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UPDATE 1-PepsiCo offers $1.7 bln to buy South Africa's Pioneer Foods

(Adds CEO comments, details, adds shares)

JOHANNESBURG, July 19 (Reuters) - PepsiCo has made a $1.7 billion offer to buy South Africa's Pioneer Food Group the companies said on Friday, boosting the target's shares by nearly 30%.

The U.S. drinks and snack group said Pioneer Food's product portfolio was complementary and would help PepsiCo to expand in sub-Saharan Africa by boosting its manufacturing and distribution capabilities.

PepsiCo offered 110 rand ($7.94) per Pioneer Foods ordinary share, the companies said, with the news lifting the South African company's shares by 28.8% to almost 100 rand.

"Pioneer Foods forms an important part of our strategy to not only expand in South Africa, but further into sub-Saharan Africa as well," PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement.

Pioneer Foods, which has brands ranging from drinks to grain products such as Weet-Bix and Liqui-Fruit, exports to more than 80 countries. ($1 = 13.8613 rand) (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg Editing by David Goodman)