(Updates with closing share price in last paragraph.)
Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Tiger Brands Ltd., South Africa’s largest food company, said it may spend twice as much on acquisitions this fiscal year because its balance sheet has room for more debt.
“Our balance sheet can easily take another 4 billion rand” ($470 million) in fiscal 2012, Chief Executive Officer Peter Matlare said today in an interview at the company’s Johannesburg headquarters.
The company spent 2.1 billion rand buying stakes in companies outside of South Africa in the 12 months through September, including the purchase of UAC Foods Plc. in Nigeria, it said today in an annual earnings statement.
Businesses outside South Africa will contribute 20 percent to earnings over the next three to five years, compared with about 10 percent now, Matlare said Sept. 5. The company is looking at “several acquisition opportunities,” mostly in Africa, he said at the time.
“Nigeria for us is a long-term play,” Matlare said today. “It represents one of the most important markets in Africa.” The country has other “good businesses,” he said, when asked if there are more acquisition targets there.
In April, Tiger Brands acquired all the shares in biscuit maker Deli Foods Nigeria Ltd. The CEO said today he expects it to take about a year to 18 months to bring the recently acquired businesses up to desired performance.
Tiger Brands fell 1.1 percent to 222.55 rand at the 5 p.m. close in Johannesburg. The stock has advanced 16 percent this year.
--Editors: Jerrold Colten, David Risser
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