Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

The participation of enduring empowerment company Brimstone in the keenly awaited R4.8bn takeover of dairy group Clover is intriguing. Brimstone — which is anchored on fishing investments in Sea Harvest and Oceana Group — will snag a 15% stake in the new-look Milco for R726m. This means Milco will become one of the bigger investments in Brimstone’s portfolio, and reinforces food as the dominant investment silo. But there’s additional significance to owning a minority stake in a large dairy enterprise, remembering that Brimstone recently helped its subsidiary Sea Harvest to acquire the Ladismith Cheese Company for R527m. The media release from Brimstone does not mention the Ladismith deal, though it does reiterate the group’s determination to build a meaningful food niche. Naturally, I’m wondering if there is potential for a bulk-up deal further down the line. Both Clover/Milco and Sea Harvest specialise in the frozen and chilled-goods space. An outright merger may seem a little far-...

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