Efforts by agribusiness Crookes Brothers to diversify away from its core sugar offering are expected to start paying off in the years ahead. The company’s mainly Swaziland-based sugarcane operation has in recent years been broadened to include deciduous fruit, bananas and macadamia nuts — as well asan intriguing longer term X-factor in its Rennishaw property development. Crookes is not watched closely by the mainstream market, which has PSG-controlled Zeder as a default "farming play". Agribusiness sources reckon Crookes needs to build more critical mass to appeal to the market, although there is consensus that the company’s cash-flow generation, regular dividends and property underpin are attractive. Crookes MD Guy Clarke said that although there was plenty on Crookes’ plate at this point, the company, which has maintained a stout balance sheet, was still on the lookout for new opportunities. "We will look at other agribusiness sectors. Areas that are doing well at the moment inclu...

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