SOUTH AFRICA– Pioneer Foods, home to brands such as Ceres, Weet-Bix and Liqui Fruit, has told shareholders it is in talks.

The company, which is seeking to grow its market share and is the second-largest South African food and beverage manufacturer on the JSE, has recently being buying stakes.

In November, it bought a 49.89 percent stake in Weet-Bix East Africa, which followed its August acquisition of UK-based Streamfoods for 7.5 million pounds.

On Tuesday, it said it had been approached to explore a material transaction, which could affect its shareprice.

It did not quantify whether it was being bought, or doing more buying.

Pioneer notes, however, that the corporate activity is “in keeping with Pioneer Foods’ strategic direction”.

It says it is “exploring the merits of the proposed transaction,” but that no final decision has been taken, so shareholders should be cautious when trading shares.

Earlier this year, it said group turnover gained 5.1 percent for the four months to January, mostly as a consequence of inflation. It added contracting volumes were evident in a number of categories for varying reasons.

The South African business increased turnover by 7.6 percent, while International turnover declined by 10.3 percent.

The company notes the 2016/17 financial year will be a tale of two halves for Pioneer Foods.

“The first half margin and profitability will be materially impacted by non-recurring raw material vagaries.”

March 7, 2017;