Libstar Holdings revealed it has made a number of investments to boost the South African food group’s production capacity and expand its category mix.

The Johannesburg-listed firm, which has a portfolio stretching across bakery, soups, dressings, spices, pasta and dairy, said it invested ZAR24m (US$1.3m) in the recently acquired business Millennium Foods to add the capability to produce frozen ready meals for the retail and foodservice sectors.

“This will position Libstar strongly in a growing market segment during 2020,” the Denny Mushroom brand owner said in its 2019 results announcement. 

Some of the money was also injected to triple the production of convenience foods at Cape Town-based Millennium Foods, which also produces snacks and desserts.

And it has also invested a further ZAR4m to facilitate the local production of Kiri and Laughing Cow cheeses as part of a strategic partnership with France’s Bel Group, which owns those brands.

In terms of financials for the year ended 31 December, Libstar reported a pretty solid set of results. Revenues climbed 2.4% to ZAR9.89bn, while operating profit was up 13% at ZAR701.8m.

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By GlobalData

Profit before tax rose 23% to ZAR493m, while it delivered a net profit of ZAR356.7m, an increase of 30% over the previous year. 

The earnings report also noted the appointment of Charl de Villiers as an executive director and the group’s chief financial officer, who took up the appointments in January to replace then-CFO Robin Smith. He retained his position at an executive director of Libstar.

Libstar also owns Sonnendal Dairies in the Western Cape, a company producing dairy products such as yogurt and a range of juices. And last year, Libstar saw a portion of the business fall into the hands of another private investor, London-based Actis.