Consumer goods group Tiger Brands should settle a class action to avoid lengthy litigation that could damage its reputation, analysts are quoted as saying in a Business Times report.

The company has made it clear it intends to defend a class-action lawsuit to establish its liability in the deaths of 218 people and the impact on many hundreds more as a result of listeriosis linked to its cold meat products.

Lulama Qongqo, a consumer analyst at Mergence Investment Managers, said: ‘I think that it could potentially be cheaper for them to settle out of court. The longer it takes, the higher the risk of them once again bringing an injustice to their brand. I definitely think that if they settle out of court and don't fight tooth and nail like everything we've seen, they might be able to then demonstrate that, well, "we're not just cold-hearted as the public thought we were and we actually do care about the people who eat our products".’

An unnamed analyst is quoted as saying: ‘A settlement is probably in the best interest of Tiger Brands in order to halt the continued bad publicity and the distraction it might have on management.

Full Business Times report (subscription needed)