LONDON, April 21 South Africa's Pioneer Food
Group on Friday said a large potential deal it was
exploring had fallen apart because of ratings downgrades of the
country's sovereign debt.
Pioneer shares fell 4.6 percent to 16,870 rand on the news,
which shows how the nation's financial turmoil can hurt the
growth of its companies.
Pioneer, which sells Ceres juice and Sasko bread, said on
March 7 it had been approached to explore a "material
transaction" that could effect the food group's share price. It
did not identify the party involved.
Pioneer said on Friday talks had ended. "Due to the recent
sovereign debt rating downgrades in South Africa and the
potential for additional downgrades, the parties have decided to
discontinue negotiations at this time," it said.
S&P Global Ratings downgraded South Africa's credit rating
to junk this month, saying the firing of its internationally
respected finance minister posed a risk.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Edmund Blair)