AVI is a curious member of the food sector on the JSE. Unlike most of its peers, it’s not a commodity-type food producer, preferring to excel in niche areas of the food market. But it also doesn’t shy away from volatile food areas, such as fishing, with its I&J subsidiary. And of the course the real difference comes into play with the fashion brands, none of which are included in any other food company.

It remains a favourite among local fund managers, even although it has rarely — if ever — shot out the lights in terms of performance. What probably attracts them to the share is the smooth, if unexciting performance over many years, not to mention the regular payment of special dividends over many years. And this is largely thanks to its modest CEO, Simon Crutchley, who has been at the helm since 2005. This well-managed company must surely have been in the sights of a potential offshore acquirer and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a bid materialising over time...

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