Libstar* — which has spent the best part of a decade bulking up its brand offering by regular acquisitions — broke the cardinal rule for a newcomer to the JSE by issuing an early warning that its pre-listing forecasts for its maiden results would not be met. Sentiment quickly turned, and not long after listing the Libstar shares had plunged to under 600c. To their credit, Libstar executives — headed by the experienced Andries van Rensburg — did not shirk from clearly communicating the initial setbacks. The market seemed to appreciate the frankness, and was the more grateful to see evidence that Libstar was finding growth traction (in a lean market) in the second half of the financial year. A maiden cash dividend of 22c a share suggests executives are confident that their efforts to bulk up capacity will pay off over the medium term. Food players on the JSE generally are hardly the flavour of the month, and there may even be a contention that risk-averse investors should stick to the...

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