Famous Brands, Africa’s largest branded food service franchiser, had entered Ghana but exited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and Tanzania, CEO Darren Hele said this week.
“We want to make sure we get into quality markets,” he told investors.
However, Hele said that, in South Africa, the petroleum sector was not investing as much right now and shopping centre developers were less aggressive.
Projects with Shoprite in Africa were going well, especially in Angola, Hele said.
Famous Brands still wanted to grow further after completing seven acquisitions over the past year and taking on almost R2.9 billion in debt, he said.
“Group remains paramount … We are growth champions,” he added.
However, the build of debt caused the group to this week halt its dividend for the first time in 13 years, as the company looked to conserve cash.[lazyimage]
Famous Brands will now be under pressure to prove that the acquisitions it made live up to their promise and the company did not overextend itself.
The largest acquisition was made in September, which saw the group buy UK group Gourmet Burger Kitchen for R2.1 billion.