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Pioneer Foods appoints new chief

Johannesburg - South Africa's Pioneer Foods on Friday named a veteran executive from its main rival as its next chief executive, sending shares of the bread and cereal maker higher.

Pioneer, a $1.9 billion company known for South African staples like Weet-Bix cereal and its Ceres brand of juices, said Phil Roux, a consumer brands executive at Tiger Brands, will take over from May.

Roux, who has 24 years of industry experience, will replace Andre Hanekom, whose retirement was announced in October.

With a market value of $6.4 billion, Tiger Brands is one of South Africa's biggest food producers and is expanding in fast-growing African markets such as Nigeria.

The company last year bought a 63 percent stake in Nigeria's Dangote Flour Mills in its third and biggest deal yet in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and second-largest economy, which is seen as a growth area for consumer and food products.

Tiger Brands has presence in more than 20 African countries, while Pioneer remains largely focused on southern Africa.

Shares of Pioneer jumped on the news, adding 2.5 percent to 73.29 rand as of 13:58 SA time.

Pioneer Foods was formed in 1997 after the merging of the Sasko and Bokomo food businesses.

The company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in April 2008. - Reuters

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