SOUTH AFRICA – The South African food producer Rhodes Food Group has committed to invest more than US$80.56 million over the next three years to expand its capacity and enhance production efficiencies.

In a bid to maintain momentum in sub-Saharan Africa, the group said it will increase brand shares and extract benefits from recent acquisitions and major projects.

Its brands include Bull Brand, Magpie, Squish, Bisto and Hinds.

Business Report said the planned investment would be used to fund new facilities as well enhance production efficiencies.

As part of its expansion strategy, the group said it will engage in the installation of a clear-juice-concentrate plant at the Groot Drakenstein production hub, commissioning a new baked beans production facility in Gauteng, upgrading production facilities at Pakco and Ma Baker, as well as a new food technology laboratory and product development centre.

Besides a strong presence globally, the Rhodes Food is banking on the domestic market after investing US$21.58 million into capital projects from US$18.75million it spent last year.

According to Chief executive Bruce Henderson, Rhodes Food which owns 15 production facilities across South Africa and Swaziland, wanted to gain more market share through acquisitions and organic growth.

Rhodes Food acquired Durban-based food producer Pakco for US$16.12 million in 2016 adding it a portfolio of strong and well-known brands, including the iconic Bisto brand, Hinds, Buffalo, Southern Coating, Trotters, Gold Dish and Pakco.

The year saw a round of acquisitions by the food group including the Ma Baker Pies for US$17.08 million to strengthen its position in the country’s growing pie and pastry market.

“Pakco products are gaining good traction in the market, and the relaunch of the brand portfolio in March will add further sales momentum.

“We have introduced extensive product innovation, new pack formats and refreshed packaging designs across the Bisto, Hinds, Pakco and Southern Coating brands,” said Henderson.

For the six months to April 2018, the group’s turnover grew 16.6% to US$201.42 million, with continued strong growth in the regional business and the benefit of recent acquisitions in the period.