Top deals (and those that failed) making headlines this week

In focus this week: Steinhoff, Standard Bank, Omnia, Equites and more.

Steinhoff

Scandal-hit Steinhoff plans to sell off more assets to become a retail-focused holding company in a bid to survive after it recovered €6.5 billion (about R111 billion) in accounting fraud, sparking a share price collapse.

During a first public presentation to investors this week since the scandal took hold, Steinhoff CEO Louis du Preez said a radical transformation into a retail-focused investment holding company was its “only way to survive”. This means that the retailer might sell more assets as well as cut jobs at its French retail chain Conforama. Louis didn’t name the assets that might be up for sale.

Read more here

Equites Property

Equites Property Fund, a South Africa-based real estate company that owns warehouses and distribution centres, has acquired its ninth property in the UK. This means that about one third of its total asset base worth more than R8 billion is now in the region. Its UK assets were worth R3.89 billion before its latest purchase of a distribution centre in the country.

Equites said it has concluded an agreement with Barlow Property II LLP, to acquire a new, 24,340m² distribution centre situated in Glasshoughton, near Leeds, from the seller for £30.675 million, or about R560 million. The property has a 15-year lease with sportswear group Puma. Read more here

Choppies 

Botswanan budget retailer Choppies Enterprises said on Wednesday it planned to sell its stores in South Africa as economic growth slows in Africa’s most advanced economy. It has been four years since Chippies expanded into South Africa.

The company, whose stock is currently suspended from trading on its primary bourse in Botswana as well as on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, operates 88 stores in South Africa. “Exiting the South African market is the appropriate strategic decision for the company,” it said in a statement. Read more here.

Safari 

South Africa-based real estate group, Fairvest Property Holdings, said it has abandoned its merger with shopping mall owner Safari Investments, while Cape Town-based Community Property (Comprop) ups the stakes.

The announcement comes after unlisted property group Comprop launched an R1.8-billion buy-out a bid to acquire the entire issued share capital of Safari last month. Comprop, which is part of the Futuregrowth Asset Management stable, and has a R4.4 billion portfolio targeting rural and township retail, said the offer has majority support from Safari’s main shareholders. The botched merger between Fairvest and Safari following a backlash from Safari shareholders, who said the deal undervalues their company. 

Read more here

Omnia 

South Africa-based chemicals and fertiliser maker, Omnia, plans to raise as much as R2-billion through a rights issue that is priced at R20 per share. Omnia, which said in May it would use the proceeds to reduce its debt, will issue 100 million shares, it said in a statement on Monday. Omnia’s shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange slumped as much as 8.6 percent in early trade on Monday but finished 1.5 percent lower on the day.

Shareholders raised concerns about the fact that Omnia wants to raise R2 billion, which is closer to its market capitalisation of R2.4 billion. Existing Omnia shareholders might be diluted and forced to take up their rights.

Read more here

Standard Bank

Standard Bank Group, Africa’s biggest lender, plans to sell its 20 percent stake in an Argentinian financial services group and use the proceeds to build up its African operations.The Argentinian financial services group in question is ICBC Argentina.

“ICBCA has performed strongly since the change of control from a financial perspective. However, Argentina remains off strategy for the group as a geography and there is little overlap in the client bases of Standard Bank Group and ICBCA,” Standard Bank said in a statement. Read more here

AgDevCo

AgDevCo, the UK-based impact investor, has invested €8.7 million in DekelOil, a frontier agribusiness operating in the palm oil and cashew sectors in West Africa. The investment consists of a 10-year senior secured loan of €7.2 million to DekelOil Côte D'Ivoire, and a €1.5 million equity investment into its AIM-listed holding company DekelOil Public, for about 9.7 percent shareholding. The investment will be used to strengthen DekelOil's balance sheet through the refinancing of short and medium-term debt facilities.