Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large
Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

PSG-controlled agribusiness investor Zeder has written up the value in two of its largest unlisted investments — fruit marketing company Capespan and seed specialist Zaad – in the year to end-February.

Results released on Tuesday showed that while Zeder incurred a heavy markdown in its anchor investment in JSE-listed consumer goods conglomerate Pioneer Foods, the intrinsic value of the 97.5% stake in Capespan was increased to R2.26bn (R1.98bn in 2017) and the 91.4% stake in Zaad written up to R2bn (from R1.53bn).

The investment in Capespan and Zaad comprises about 30% of Zeder’s R14bn portfolio.

Zeder CEO Norman Celliers said Capespan — which also owns and operates several strategic logistical and terminal assets in southern Africa — reported a 28% decline in recurring headline earnings.

He said Capespan maintained its value thanks to the underpin from its farming operations and associate investments. Capespan made significant progress during the year in ongoing efforts to reposition the business to achieve its long-term growth objectives, Celliers said.

Capespan had evolved and diversified in recent years to the extent that it now combined asset-intensive divisions — underpinned with strong net asset values — with earnings-generating divisions that required less capital investments but offered scaleable earnings growth possibilities.

Zaad develops and distributes a range of agricultural seeds in Europe and African and other emerging markets.

In 2017, Zaad broadened its international footprint when it acquired a 35% stake in Turkey-based May Seed. Celliers disclosed that Zaad reported a 17% drop in headline earnings for its financial year ended January 31 2018.

He said this decline was largely due to lower sales from its South African operations during the prolonged drought.

Celliers added that Zeder had invested an additional R145m in the business.