Cau­tion­ary fizz

Finweek English Edition - - COMPANIES&MARKETS -

SINCE LIST­ING in 1987, plas­tic pack­ag­ing spe­cial­ist BOWLER MET­CALF has hardly been a se­rial is­suer of cau­tion­ary no­tices to share­hold­ers. In fact, Finweek doubts Bow­calf has is­sued more than a cou­ple of cau­tion­ar­ies in its 24-year ten­ure on the JSE. So when it does is­sue a cau­tion­ary peo­ple tend to sit up and take no­tice.

As one of the great un­sung profit per­form­ers of the small cap sec­tor, the first alarmist re­ac­tion is that Bow­calf might be mulling an of­fer to mi­nori­ties and a delist­ing. How­ever, a more cheer­ful bit of spec­u­la­tion would be per­haps about a bulk-up deal for its Qual­ity Bev­er­ages, a promis­ing soft drink fill­ing sub­sidiary that now gen­er­ates more rev­enue (but not profit) than its core plas­tics pack­ag­ing op­er­a­tion.

All mat­ter of things could be en­ter­tained here: A deal with Pi­o­neer Foods (which bot­tles Pepsi and fruit juices) to a deal with dairy group Clover (which has in­di­cated a will­ing­ness to break into the soft-drinks mar­ket).

But our deep throats reckon it might be bet­ter to tem­per ex­pec­ta­tions about Qual­ity Bev­er­ages, sug­gest­ing the cau­tion­ary might well point to some­thing much more mun­dane. Cur­rently, Bow­calf’s share price con­curs…

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