Tiger Brands Shares Soar as Mondelez Executive Named as CEO

  • Appointment `will be positively received,' Standard Bank says
  • Lawrence MacDougall to head company after Peter Matlare left

Tiger Brands Ltd. shares gained the most in almost three months after South Africa’s largest food producer appointed Lawrence MacDougall from Mondelez International Inc. as the new chief executive officer following the resignation of Peter Matlare.

The stock rose 4.4 percent, the most since Dec. 14, to 318.80 rand by the close in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 61 billion rand ($4 billion). Noel Doyle will continue to act as CEO until MacDougall joins on a date to be announced later this month, the maker of All Gold tomato sauce and Black Cat peanut butter said in a statement on Wednesday.

MacDougall, 58, is currently the South Africa-based regional president for eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelez -- the owner of Cadbury chocolate that was spun out of Kraft Food Group Inc in 2012. He had risen through the ranks of Cadbury before its sale to Kraft, having joined the U.K. snack maker’s South African unit in 1982.

“MacDougall is not lacking any experience and news about his appointment will be positively received,” said Sumil Seeraj, an analyst at Standard Bank Group Ltd. “The great concern was that if they did appoint an outsider that Noel would leave. If he sticks around it will be good.”

The new CEO has the challenge of restoring Tiger Brands’ profit growth after Matlare presided over a decline in full-year net income and a writedown in the value of the company’s Nigerian milling unit, which was bought for about 1.5 billion rand in 2012. The shares fell 14 percent last year, compared with an 11 percent gain for South African competitor Pioneer Foods Group Ltd.

South African food producers are contending with rising costs for ingredients such as white corn, with the price of the grain more than doubling since the start of last year after the worst drought in more than a century. A 25 percent plunge in the rand against the U.S. dollar in the period has also pushed up import costs.

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