Talks between South Africa’s Pioneer Food Group about an unspecified deal with local agribusiness investment firm – and minority shareholder – Zeder Investments have been broken off.
Pioneer said last month it was in talks about a “material transaction”. At the time, the cereal-to-fruit snacks business did not name Zeder but said “the anticipated corporate activity is in keeping with Pioneer Foods’ strategic direction”.
Spokespersons for both sides told just-food today (21 April) they had been in discussions but declined to say what the nature of the negotiations were.
However, Pioneer’s spokesperson rejected a report in the domestic media speculating the company was considering the acquisition of Zeder, which has a 27% stake in the business.
Pioneer said in a SENS cautionary announcement today that it “had been approached to explore a material transaction”, but did not refer to Zeder. The statement said: “Shareholders are hereby advised that, due to the recent sovereign debt rating downgrades in South Africa and the potential for additional downgrades, the parties have decided to discontinue negotiations at this time. Accordingly, caution is no longer required to be exercised by shareholders when dealing in the company’s securities.”
A cautionary announcement made by Pioneer last month also failed and to mention Zeder, although Zeder did reference Pioneer in its cautionary announcement on 7 March.
Zeder’s current investments including a 98.1% stake in South African fruit distributor Capespan and a 26.7% stake in national poultry processor Quantum Foods.