The JSE’s food sector — now further tainted by the bitter disclosures at sector stalwart Tongaat Hulett — is churning the stomach of many an investor. Queasy sentiment, however, has not dulled the appetite of consumer brands conglomerate AVI for well-priced acquisition opportunities. AVI’s interim results presentation highlighted, in its investor proposition section, the acquisition of high-quality brand opportunities … "if available". While the presentation slide’s wording might betray an air of caution, AVI CEO Simon Crutchley remarked that there were some consumer-brand assets that might get into trouble. "This is a ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ environment, which might present some opportunities." While Crutchley did not delve into detail, market watchers will be aware that the JSE hosts a number of food businesses that are struggling for sustained traction. One suspects that parts of listed food businesses like Libstar and Rhodes Food Group — even Pioneer Foods — might interest AVI. A...

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