Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Pioneer Foods receives acquisition offer from PepsiCo subsidiary

Reuters Reuters
Russell Knight | 20 July, 2019, 04:30

For Pioneer, the group will, in turn, have access to PepsiCo's brand portfolio for Africa, including Simba, Doritos, Nik-Naks, as well as PepsiCo's bottling network, boosting local presence and go-to-market capability.

The PepsiCo-Pioneer Food Group deal recalls a strategic move by Coca-Cola in 2014 in which Coke said it would invest $17 billion in Africa from 2010 through 2020.

USA multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation PepsiCo has put in an offer to acquire all the outstanding shares of South African packaged goods company Pioneer Foods at a R110 per share premium.

PepsiCo offered 110 rand a share for Pioneer, a premium of about 56% over the last closing price before deal speculation began in earnest on Monday, the companies said in separate statements.

"Pioneer Foods forms an important part of our strategy to not only expand in South Africa but further into sub-Saharan Africa as well", PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement.

PepsiCo said Pioneer has "a robust, locally relevant product portfolio" that complements its current line-up, with "strong" positions in cereals, juices and other African nutritional food staples, including well-known, scaled brands such as Weet-Bix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko, and White Star.

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PepsiCo also confirmed that it meant to support Pioneer Foods' black economic empowerment programme.

The acquisition will be funded through a combination of debt and cash, and has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. It is subject to Pioneer Foods' shareholder approval and regulatory approval.

The deal builds on PepsiCo's US$3.2 billion (RM13.1 billion) buyout of Israel's SodaStream previous year.

"Our businesses are highly complementary, and we look forward to working with the Pioneer Foods team to successfully build and implement a shared vision in the region", he added.

While Pioneer exports to a host of countries, most of its operations are in South Africa. "We are looking to expand our footprint", PepsiCo executive Eugene Willemsen, who will head up the operation from Cape Town, told Bloomberg News.

Pioneer has been struggling in South Africa's weak consumer market, but Willemsen said PepsiCo was "very positive" about the country's prospects.

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