October 12, 2018 / 7:53 AM / 3 days ago

South Africa's Tiger Brands re-opens processing facility after listeria outbreak

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Tiger Brands said on Friday it had re-opened a facility that was closed after South Africa’s biggest food producer was implicated in the world’s largest outbreak of listeria which killed more that 200 people.

FILE PHOTO: Tiger Brands Chief Executive Lawrence MacDougall speaks during the release of their interim results in Johannesburg , South Africa, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

The health department recalled processed meat products known as “polony” and closed some processing facilities after the source of the outbreak was traced to a factory owned by Tiger Brands unit Enterprise Foods in March.

The incident prompted the company to suspend production at its Polokwane and Germiston facilities which produce polony and other cold meats and resulted in a class action lawsuit filed against the company.

Tiger Brands said production of its ready-to-cook products including bacon and frozen sausages is expected to begin on Friday at its Germinston processing facility, east of Johannesburg, after the municipal health department gave it the go-ahead.

The firm said it was continuing refurbishments at Polokwane which it expects to complete early next month.

Shares in Tiger Brands, which in May pegged the cost of the outbreak and recall at 365 million rand net of initial insurance claims, were up 2 percent to 251.08 rand by 0716 GMT. [

“It is showing signs of returning to normalcy again after that horrible black cloud was hanging over them so investors in general are looking a little bit more confident,” said Ryan Woods, a trader at Independent Securities.

Tiger Brands has shed more than a third of its market value, some 28.4 billion rand ($1.96 billion), since it was implicated in the listeria outbreak on March 4.

FILE PHOTO: A couple leaves Tiger Brands factory shop in Germiston, Johannesburg, South Africa, March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; editing by Jason Neely

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