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Premier Group returns to the JSE after an 18-year hiatus

Premier Group returns to the JSE after an 18-year hiatus
(Photo: premierfmcg.com)

The Premier Group returned to the bourse on Friday, 24 March, giving investors access to trading in South Africa’s oldest food and packaged goods business.

The home of Manhattan Sweets, Snowflake flour, Impala maize meal, Dove Soap and Lil-lets, the Premier Group is the first company to list on the JSE this year.

In total, 302 companies are listed on the stock exchange, which has an overall market capitalisation of more than R21.9-trillion.

Tracing its origins to the founding of the Attwell Bakery in Cape Town in 1824, Premier is one of South Africa’s oldest companies. Today, it produces some of southern Africa’s most well-known brands.

As part of the offer, Brait PLC, Premier’s long-standing shareholder, has made 66.9 million ordinary shares available to institutional investors.

Shares in the group surged by more than 11% after listing on Friday, 24 March.

Brait has raised about R3.6-billion through the sale of Premier shares to entities associated with Shoprite founder Christo Wiese, who will hold 31% of the ordinary shares in issue following admission, and South African institutional investors, who will hold 21% of the ordinary shares in issue.

Brait will continue to hold 47% of Premier’s ordinary shares in issue and Premier’s management team will hold 1%.

Premier had planned to list last year, but, according to Reuters, it put the listing on hold after political uncertainty about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s future unsettled the market. Investor pressure forced Brait and Wiese to reconsider.

Welcoming the company to the main board on Friday, JSE CEO Dr Leila Fourie said: “Premier is our first listing on the JSE for 2023. It’s also a happy return to a very well-known company that was previously listed on the bourse. We are incredibly, incredibly pleased to be able to welcome you all back here.

“Premier is a giant in the FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods sector] and it is home to some of the most beloved South African household names…

“We are incredibly grateful and pleased that the JSE remains the platform of choice as Premier embarks on its next phase of growth. It’s a wonderful vote of confidence in the country at a time when global macroeconomic challenges often tilt the narrative in the other direction.”

Growth strategy

Kobus Gertenbach, chief executive officer of the Premier Group, said in a statement that the decision to list was an important and exciting step in the company’s growth strategy.

“Premier is one of the oldest companies in South Africa and has been listed on the JSE in the past.

“The growth strategy executed over the past decade has resulted in sufficient scale whereby it is now more suitable to be publicly owned than stay private.

“The listing will give us a platform from which to pursue our organic and acquisitive growth strategy more readily, including, amongst other things, having access to greater sources of capital.”

Premier Group, which now trades under the JSE share code PMR, reported revenue of R14.5-billion for the year ended 31 March 2022 – 16% growth on the previous financial year.

Over the past decade, it has invested in its facilities and expanded its portfolio from a traditional milling and bakery business into sugar confectionery (with Super C, Mister Sweet and Manhattan), home and personal care (Lil-lets, Dove Cottons and Vulco) and expanded the bakery portfolio.

It has also expanded its portfolio in eSwatini to include bakery, milling and beverage operations, and in Mozambique with milling, biscuits, animal feeds and pasta operations.

Premier has more than 8,100 employees in its 13 bakeries, seven wheat mills, three maize mills and manufacturing plants across the region. BM/DM

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