Top deals and corporate moves making headlines this week

In focus this week: Naspers, Steinhoff International, Sibanye-Stillwater, Alexander Forbes, Murray & Roberts and more.

Naspers

Africa's largest technology company by market value, Naspers, plans to spin off its international internet assets and separately list them in Amsterdam and South Africa. 

The new company will comprise all of Naspers’ internet interests outside of South Africa including, among others, its companies and investments in the online classifieds, payments, food delivery, travel, education and social and internet platforms sectors.

The company is expected to be approximately 75 percent owned by Naspers and to have a free float of approximately 25 percent. The new global consumer internet group will have a primary listing on the Euronext Amsterdam and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

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Steinhoff International

Embattled retailer Steinhoff announced that it had reached an in-principle agreement to sell 74.9 percent of Steinhoff Africa’s shares in automotive dealer network Unitrans to CFAO Holdings South Africa.

Unitrans is one of the largest automotive dealer networks in South Africa, operating 99 dealerships throughout the country. Steinhoff didn’t disclose the price it will achieve for the sale.  In 2017, Steinhoff admitted to accounting irregularities, wiping about 85 percent off its market value.

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Sibanye-Stillwater 

Precious metal miner Sibanye-Stillwater is considering moving its primary listing offshore from South Africa to ensure it can compete for international assets, according to a Business Day report.  

Speaking at a Breakfast Indaba in Johannesburg, Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said the company wanted to use its equity to pursue deals, which would require a change in the listing’s jurisdiction. Neal did not specify on the preferred jurisdiction for the listing or timing.

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Alexander Forbes

South Africa’s largest pension fund administrator Alexander Forbes said it plans to sell its insurance businesses as part of a shift in strategy towards an “advice-led and capital-light model”.

The company announced that it will be seeking a buyer for its insurance businesses that include group risk, retail life and short-term, which generates about 40 percent of the group’s revenue.

The proposed sale of the insurance businesses indicates that Alexander Forbes is looking to focus mainly on pension funds for institutions – a stark contrast to the board approved strategy under the axed CEO Andrew Darfoor, who focused on growing the retail business that serves individuals.

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Murray & Roberts

Cementation Americas, which forms part of the Murray & Roberts’ underground mining platform, plans to acquire 100 percent of Terra Nova Technologies for $38 million (R552 million).

Terra Nova is a US-based conveying and material handling systems solutions business that provides services to the mining industry. It is owned by Scotland-based multinational energy services company, the Wood Group. Meanwhile, Murray & Roberts is a South Africa-based engineering group that is listed on the JSE.  

Murray & Roberts said the acquisition of Terra Nova Technologies (TNT) complements the engineering and construction services of Cementation Americas and the Murray & Roberts’ underground mining platform.

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Aspen Pharmacare

Global pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare has become the latest company to agree for its shares to be traded on the platform of A2X.

On Monday, the JSE-listed company said it will embark on a secondary listing on newcomer A2X’s platform. Its shares will start trading on the platform from April 1, 2019. A2X is a new entrant in the securities trading market, which was previously monopolised by the JSE. 

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Fairvest and Safari Investments

South Africa’s retail sector-focused real estate companies, Fairvest and Safari Investments, announced on Thursday that they had opened merger talks. Both companies own and invest in shopping centres.

“Having both received and considered a number of merger, disposal or acquisition proposals, Fairvest and Safari have agreed to engage with each other on an exclusive basis regarding a potential friendly merger,” the real estate groups said in a joint statement.

The companies have signed a non-binding expression of interest, “and it is premature for shareholders to be advised to exercise caution”.

RDI Reit

JSE-listed RDI Reit confirmed that it had been approached regarding a possible take-over offer from Australia-based Cromwell Property Group.

According to media reports, Cromwell Property Group was seeking to acquire the entire share capital of RDI Reit, which has a primary listing in London, and a secondary listing on the JSE. RDI said Cromwell had until April 23 to make a firm offer.

“There can be no certainty that any offer will be made, nor as to the terms of any such offer. The board will keep shareholders updated as appropriate,” it said in a statement.

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Beverage company Anheuser-Busch InBev has disposed of the 1906 Rootz brand and manufacturing plant in Nigeria to UK group Kensington Distillers and Vintners (KDV). The company didn’t disclose the value of the disposal.

KDV will house the brand in newly formed Monument Distillers Nigeria which will also represent a range of international brands in Nigeria.

 

Corporate moves

Public Investment Corporation 

South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has suspended its acting CEO Matshepo More (pictured) with immediate effect.

The PIC invests more than R2 trillion in government pension and other social funds and is an influential investor on the JSE and South Africa’s economy. The PIC’s board has resolved to appoint Vuyani Hako, the executive head of properties, as the acting CEO replacing Matshepo.

In a statement, the PIC said allegations pertaining to interference with the process of a commission of inquiry, which is probing allegations of impropriety at the institution, were brought to the attention of its board.

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