* Oceana stake worth $330 mln
* Spin-off will result in more focus on core ops
* Fine tunes Africa strategy
* HEPS down 26 pct (Adds Africa expansion plans, results)
By Nqobile Dludla
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 22 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Tiger Brands , which is recovering from a food contamination crisis, will spin off its 42 percent stake in fishing company Oceana Group, worth $330 million, to focus on growing its food and drinks business.
The move comes as part of a strategic review at Tiger Brands, South Africa’s biggest consumer foods maker, which produces bread, breakfast cereals and energy drinks, and which is aiming to return its core operations to profitable growth.
Tiger Brands reported a 26 percent decline in full-year headline earnings per share on Thursday.
“It’s about being more focused on our core portfolio and giving as much attention as possible to growing our core brands,” chief executive Lawrence Mac Dougall told reporters.
The approximate date of Oceana’s unbundling is April 2019.
Oceana Group, which has sales of 7.7 billion rand ($553.46 million) according to Mac Dougall, describes itself as the largest fishing company in Africa.
At 1118 GMT, shares in Tiger Brands were up 4.42 percent at 282.88 rand, Oceana was down 1.72 percent.
Tiger Brands’ strategic review also suggests expanding into Africa on a “very cautionary” basis. This involves a “route-to-market” model as opposed to acquisitive growth, Mac Dougall said.
The food producer will start in Kenya and move into Nigeria and Central Africa. Expansion into North Africa “will take us a little bit longer and that might have to be acquisitive growth,” Mac Dougall said.
“We believe this will deliver high double digit growth over the next few years for us at a margin that is accretive to our South African business.”
Tiger Brands manufactures food through stakes in local companies in Nigeria, Cameroon and Zimbabwe and also distributes its products across much of southern and central Africa, as well as in the United States, Australia and parts of Europe.
Tiger Brands said HEPS from total operations for the full-year ended September fell to 1,587 cents from 2,161 cents.
Revenue declined by 9 percent to 28.5 billion rand due to the suspension of operations at its cold meat facilities in response to a deadly listeria outbreak and a depressed consumer environment.
Recall and related costs to date amounted to 380 million rand net of initial insurance claims, Tiger Brands said.
$1 = 13.9125 rand Reporting by Nqobile Dludla, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alexandra Hudson