Pioneer Onward and upward
Under the relatively recent leadership of Phil Roux – he joined in April 2013 – Pioneer’s share price has more than doubled, and earnings were up a handsome 7% in the three months to December. How’d they do that? Operational efficiencies, natch, but also a ruthless weeding out of underperforming assets, which to date include the poultry, egg and feeds business Quantum Foods, and the Pepsi bottling operation. And the word on the street is that the Moir’s biscuit business could be the next to go – Roux has spoken of “harvesting out” a profitable business unit that is not a major contributor to turnover. This will give the business renewed focus on its major earners, Sasko, White Star, Weetbix, Ceres, Liquifruit, Safari and Spekko. And perhaps on a couple of minor strategic acquisitions – or even a major deal, if the more irresponsible speculators are to be heeded.
Comment: The rise of businesses like Pioneer, RCL and Premier will be one of the big themes of our next decade in the dear old Tatler, you mark our words.