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Rhodes to buy frozen food business of Pepsi-owned Pioneer

Rhodes Food Group has agreed to acquire the frozen foods business of Pioneer Foods Wellingtons, a part of PepsiCo, excluding its operations in Botswana and eSwatini.

Rhodes Food, which is part of RFG Holdings, said the deal presents an attractive investment opportunity and is aligned with its strategy of expanding its business through value-accretive acquisitions.

“The board believes that the frozen pie and snack category in the top end retail market complements RFG’s growing pies and pastries business and that the acquisition has the potential to generate good synergies for the company,” according to RFG. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pioneer’s product range includes frozen pies, pastry, sausage rolls, pizza and party packs under brands like Today, Mama’s, Big Jack and Man’s Meal. The business has a strong presence in the frozen pies and pastry segment, and services the South African top end retail market.

The company makes the products at a facility in Atlantis, Western Cape, and distributes nationally.

The acquisition is likely to take effect January 1, 2022, depending on the fulfillment of the conditions precedent.

Pioneer Food was acquired by global food and beverage giant PepsiCo last year in a deal worth $1.7-billion. The plan to divest the frozen food business is seen as part of a plan to align the product portfolio with rest of PepsiCo.

Pioneer Food operates three business units: essential foods (bread, pasta labels such as SASKO and Pasta Grande, besides maize meals, rice and dry beans and legumes); groceries (beverages such as fruit juice, ice tea and packaged water; breakfast cereals, baking products and salads; besides a food unit that houses snacks, frozen food and related products); and an exports unit.

Pioneer posted revenue of R20.2-billion in 2018. Of this, just around a quarter came from the grocery unit while the essential food business comprised the lion’s share.

It operates mainly across South Africa and exports to more than 80 countries across the globe including a number of countries in Africa.  It also operates in Namibia, Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria through its joint ventures.


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