Zeder Investments, an investor in broad agribusiness, reported a fall in earnings for the interim period to August 2017, mostly due to its 27% interest in Pioneer Foods, its largest investment. PSG-affiliated Pioneer Foods, which made up 52.3% of Zeder’s portfolio in the most recent interim period, reported weaker earnings in the interim period ended-March 2017. Headline earnings per share nosedived 69.9% to 4.3c in the latest period. This gave the group attributable earnings of R127m from R214m in the same period in 2016. Zeder’s underlying investment portfolio was valued at R14.1bn at the end of August. "I think it’s clear from a profit point of view that it has been a very tough six months," Zeder CEO Norman Celliers said. He said that Pioneer Foods had weighed on the group: "I think the market expected profits in the first half to be significantly weaker." SA’s widespread El Nino drought in 2015-16 had been a key negative factor for agriculture. That was now over and the benefit...

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