Top deals and corporate moves making headlines this week

In focus this week: Absa, Airtel Africa, The Coca-Cola Company, OLX Group and Vedanta Resources.

Absa

Maria Ramos will step down as CEO of Absa Group and Absa Bank at the end of February 2019, ending her ten-year tenure of being at the helm of the commercial bank. 

Absa announced on Tuesday that Maria has agreed to step down and will be replaced by René van Wyk, who will assume the role of Absa Group and Absa Bank Interim CEO with effect from March 1, 2019.

Maria has been credited for leading Absa over the past ten years through significant milestones, including the aftermath of the global financial crisis and acquiring the Barclays Africa subsidiary banks in 2013.

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OLX Group

Naspers’ classifieds business, OLX Group, has invested $1.16 billion to acquire a further 29.1 percent stake in Avito, which is the leading online general classifieds and property platform in Russia.

The investment means that OLX Group’s shareholding in Avito will increase from 70.4 percent to 99.6 percent on a fully diluted basis.

The remaining shares are held by existing management, said Naspers, Africa’s largest company by market capitalisation.

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Airtel Africa

Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar, plans to invest $200 million in Airtel Africa, the subsidiary of telecommunications operator Bharti Airtel.

Airtel Africa is the holding company for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries in the continent and offers 4G services in ten of these nations. Airtel Africa is the second largest telecommunications firm in the continent with customer base of more than 94 million.

The $200 million investment will be raised through an issue of Airtel Africa’s primary shares and the proceeds would be used to reduce the company’s debt.

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Tharisa

Platinum-group metals and chrome co-producer Tharisa has become the latest comapny to agree for its shares to be traded on A2X Exchange in South Africa.

Tharisa will be embarking on a secondary listing of its shares on A2X Exchange with effect from February 6, 2019.

Tharisa’s primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), secondary standard listing on the main board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and issued share capital will be unaffected by the secondary listing on A2X.

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Mediclinic

South Africa’s Competition Tribunal has blocked the merger between private hospital groups Mediclinic Southern Africa and Matlosana Medical Health Services, scuppering the former’s plans to expand in the country’s North West province.

In terms of the proposed transaction, Mediclinic would acquire a majority interest in Matlosana Medical Health Services, which owns and operates two private hospitals, Wilmed Park and Sunningdale Hospitals, in Klerksdorp (North West).

The Competition Tribunal, which is South Africa’s competition authority, blocked the merger because it would substantially lessen competition in the North West province.

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Link Africa

Naspers and Dimension Data are in talks to sell their joint venture, Vast Networks, to fibre-optic infrastructure company Link Africa, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Investec is managing the sale of Vast Networks, for which Link has offered R450 million. The deal is not yet final, and terms could change, according to a Bloomberg report.

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The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company, the Atlanta-headquartered beverage company, announced on Wednesday that it has completed its acquisition of Chi, a beverage company based in Nigeria.

Coca-Cola first announced a minority investment in Chi three years ago and but has now acquired full ownership of the company.

Coca-Cola acquired a 40 percent stake in Chi in 2016 from Tropical General Investments Group, the holding company for Chi for an undisclosed amount.

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Vedanta Resources

London-based oil-to-metals group Vedanta Resources has plans to invest $1.2 billion investment in its South African mining projects.

Vedanta executive chairman Anil Agarwal told TV channel ET Now that the firm is targeting an annual production of zinc of two million tonnes across its global operations. As part of this target, it aims to expand its zinc operations in Africa.

However, Anil did not elaborate on a timeline for these investments.

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Peregrine and Legae

South Africa’s Competition Tribunal has unconditionally approved the acquisition of a 65 percent stake in stock broker Peregrine Securities by Nkholi Consolidated Investments.

Nkholi Consolidated Investments is a black economic empowerment consortium formed by the management of Legae Securities together with the management of Peregrine Securities and others.

The Competition Commission, which is South Africa’s competition authority, recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the proposed merger be approved without conditions. The Tribunal approved the merger without conditions, it announced on Wednesday.

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