Top deals and corporate moves making headlines this week

In focus this week: Sibanye-Stillwater, Aspen, Old Mutual, Massmart, Sasol and others.

Sibanye-Stillwater 

Diversified mining group Sibanye-Stillwater said the terms of its increased offer for the takeover of platinum-producer Lonmin was final and would not be pushed higher, it announced on Monday.

In April, Sibanye-Stillwater increased the recommended all-share offer for Lonmin in acknowledgment of improved pricing for platinum group metals. Sibanye-Stillwater said it would offer one share for each Lonmin share compared to its previous offer of 0.967 shares. This represents an increase of 3.4 percent.

Read more here

Aspen

South Africa-based drug maker Aspen Pharmacare said it has agreed to sell its portfolio of prescription and over-the-counter products to US generics maker Mylan for A$188 million (R1.9 billion).

The move is part of Aspen’s strategy to disinvest from its non-core assets and use proceeds from the sale of assets to reduce its debt load. This is strategy recently launched by Aspen CEO Stephen Saad.

Aspen’s borrowings include a €1 billion (R16 billion) loan that matures in May 2020 and a €500 million (R8 billion) facility due May 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Read more here

Sasol

Chemical giant Sasol plans to offload around $2 billion in assets across its portfolio, which is part of its capital allocation strategy.

Although Sasol didn’t elaborate on which specific assets that will be up for sale, the company said it will restrict its capital allocation to exploration opportunities in Mozambique and selected West African countries and cease further investments in greenfields gas-to-liquids plants.

The proceeds from the sales would further support the company’s debt reduction efforts – reducing balance sheet gearing towards 30 percent (compared with 48.9 percent during the six months to December 2018).

Sasol unveiled the sale of assets this week when it told investors and analysts that its Louisiana-based Lake Charles project will face more cost over runs. Lake Charles Chemicals Project will incur an additional $1 billion – bringing the project’s cost to between $12.6 billion and $12.9 billion.

 The latest revision to the budget is much pricier than the initial $8.9 billion shareholders expected when the project started in October 2014. Read more here

East Africa Metals 

Canada-based mineral exploration company East Africa Metals has received government approval of mining licenses for the Mato Bula Gold Copper and Da Tambuk Gold Deposits at its Adyabo project in Ethiopia.

The acquisition of the Mato Bula and Da Tambuk mining licenses brings East Africa’s assets that are based in Africa to four.

These assets are fully permitted gold and base metal mining projects in Africa with total indicated and inferred resources of 2.8 million gold and gold-equivalent ounces and exploration upside. Read more here

Barloworld 

South Africa’s industrial group Barloworld is expanding its footprint in Mongolia as it is in talks to acquire Wagner Asia Group, an American-owned equipment dealer, for an undisclosed amount.

The company said it entered into negotiations and commenced a due diligence process to acquire Wagner Asia Group, which is based in Mongolia, a landlocked country in East Asia.

The deal, Barloworld said, is inline with its pursuit of growth and utilising its “strong balance sheet.” Arguably, a healthy balance sheet will make it easy for Barloworld to finance any deal. Read more here

ARM Cement

Kenya’s billionaire businessman, Narendra Raval (pictured), has emerged as the buyer of struggling cement processor ARM Cement for Sh5 billion ($50 million).

The assets of Kenya's ARM Cement, which was put under administration in August 2018 by some of its creditors over a $190-million debt, have been sold to the National Cement Company. National Cement is a subsidiary of Devki Group of Companies, which was founded by Narendra.

Read more here

Corporate moves

Old Mutual

Financial services group Old Mutual said on Friday that it has suspended CEO Peter Moyo with immediate effect over a “breakdown in trust”, shocking investors and analysts as the move was unexpected.

The company said that following a series of talks, its board decided that “there has been a material breakdown in trust and confidence between him and the board”. COO Iain Williamson has taken over as acting CEO. Read more here

Massmart

South Africa’s retail company Massmart Group has appointed Mitchell Slape as its new chief executive and executive director of the company.

The group said Mitchell will start work with effect from the first day of the month following the date of approval and grant of his intra-company transfer permit and visa to work in South Africa.

Mitchell succeeds Guy Hayward who, earlier this month, indicated his intention to resign and step down as chief executive and executive director after 18 years. 

Mitchell is former interim president and chief executive of Walmart Japan. He has extensive leadership experience across a range of retail formats and Walmart markets, including the United States, Japan, India and Mexico. 

Ascendis Health

South Africa-based health and wellness group Ascendis Health has fired chief executive Thomas Thomsen with immediate effect, following a string of poor results and investment decision.

Thomas, a Danish national, was only appointed to the top job in March 2018.

“The employment contract of Mr Thomas Thomsen, an executive director and the Chief Executive Officer (‘CEO’) of Ascendis Health, has been terminated with immediate effect,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. The company didn’t provide a reason for firing Thomas. Andrew Marshall, the board’s current chairman, will be acting as CEO until the board has appointed a suitable replacement for Thomas. Read more here