Ashburton Fund Managers is buying shares in Africa’s biggest cellular operator, a logistics company and a sugar producer as it bets on the growing spending power of the continent’s consumers. Ashburton, a unit of FirstRand, had stocked up on MTN, shipping company Grindrod and Illovo Sugar to gain access to a surging group of spenders, chief investment officer Paolo Senatore said yesterday. Illovo, which is majority owned by Associated British Foods, was set to benefit from rising sugar consumption as people became wealthier, Ashburton fund manager Roshini Moodley said. Illovo’s capital expenditure in recent years would boost cash flow even though the sugar price had been lacklustre, she said. The KwaZulu-Natal based company operates in Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. Grindrod, a Durban-based shipping and freight company, is expanding into other southern African countries, including port terminals in Maputo and a railway in Zambia. MTN gained 9.5 percent last month and rose 0.97 percent to R217.64 yesterday, paring its loss this year to 0.7 percent. Grindrod rose 1.53 percent to close at R25.89, paring its decline this year to 7.6 percent, and Illovo fell 1.14 percent to R27.69, taking it to a 0.6 percent decline this year. – Bloomberg