Top deals making headlines this week

In focus this week: Bushveld Minerals, Ascendis Health, Brimstone Investment, Efficient Group and more.

Bushveld Minerals

Bushveld Minerals, the largest vanadium producer in South Africa, has pushed back its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to 2020, according to a report by Business Day.

The company has pushed back its initial public offering because it wants to complete its takeover of Vanchem. Bushveld Minerals acquired Vanchem on 2 May 2019 for $65 million (R939 million at the time). Vanchem operates a plant that produces various vanadium oxides, ferro-vanadium and vanadium chemicals.

According to Business Day, the delay in coming to Johannesburg’s bourse stemmed from the need to include the $68 million Vanchem purchase in its listing documents. The Vanchem transaction will close in October 2019. Read more here

Ascendis Health 

South Africa-based Ascendis Health said it is considering selling the two remaining businesses in its biosciences division after it offloaded three companies in that unit.

The sale of Afrikelp, Efekto and Marltons, announced in May, is now complete after receiving approval from competition authorities, Ascendis said on Wednesday. The businesses were sold for R480 million to a consortium comprising RMB Ventures SevenNedbank Private Equity and some managers at Ascendis’s biosciences division.

"The two remaining businesses in the Ascendis Health biosciences division, being Avima and Klub M5, are now being considered for divestment," Ascendis said. Read more here

Brimstone Investment 

JSE-listed investment firm Brimstone Investment has secured a replacement black economic empowerment (BEE) investor to acquire its 15 percent shareholding in Clover, South Africa’s biggest dairy and branded foods producer.

Brimstone confirmed in April that it will not be participating in a consortium called Milco SA that planned to acquire Clover in a deal worth R4.8 billion. It caved into pressure from pro-Palestine activist group Boycott Divestment Sanctions SA, who opposed the deal because the consortium was led by Tel Aviv-based Central Bottling Company (CBC).

Brimstone announced that BEEMilk — an entity representing a consortium of investors comprising Khulasande Capital, Global Capital Empowerment Fund and Ubisi Noju — would be replacing Brimstone in the Clover consortium. Read more here

Efficient Group 

South Africa-based financial services company Efficient Group said it might delist from the JSE after a private equity group that is incorporated in Mauritius made an offer to buy shares held by minority shareholders.

Efficient Group said on Monday that Apis Growth 12 has submitted a non-binding expression of interest to buy all of its issued ordinary shares.

The deal might result in Efficient Group delisting from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Read more here

Sappi

South African paper and pulp maker, Sappi Limited, said on Thursday that its subsidiary, Sappi Canada Enterprises Inc, has signed an agreement to acquire the Matane high yield hardwood pulp mill in Quebec from Rayonier Advanced Materials for $175 million. 

The mill has a capacity of 270,000 tons per annum of high yield hardwood pulp. Sapi said this transaction represents an opportunity to increase its pulp integration for both its North American and European packaging businesses. 

The increased pulp integration is expected to lower Sappi's costs of pulp, reduce the volatility of earnings throughout the pulp cycle and provide certainty of supply. Read more here

Vukile Property Fund

Vukile Property Fund's 72.1 percent-held subsidiary, Castellana Properties Socimi SA, has completed the acquisition of Puerta Europa Shopping Centre for a purchase consideration of €56.8 million.

The deal means that Vukile Property Fund’s Spanish investment has topped €1 billion and increases the number of its retail assets in the country to 19. Vukile first invested in Spain two years ago as a diversification strategy because its South African home market faced tough economic headwinds and increased political uncertainty. Read more here

Blue Label

Blue Label Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms, has invested in Cape Town-based technology startup Mobii Systems.

The deal will see Blue Label take up 26 percent of Mobii, giving the company’s team of developers of sports data applications the funding needed for new and ongoing product development, as well as access to a wider customer base and increased market share.

“Blue Label Ventures identifies and invests in disruptive businesses that have the potential to reach new markets and achieve global commercial success,” said Tallies Taljaard, co-founder of Blue Label Ventures.

“Mobii’s team of engineers have, with very little funding, built two exciting and truly innovative applications that have massive potential to go global. Through our investment, we will enable the business to grow and take advantage of opportunities for expansion into new markets. High performance sporting technology is a global multi-billion-dollar industry that is still fragmented and underserved.”

ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal has concluded an agreement to acquire the structural steel and rail manufacturing business operated by Highveld Structural Mill (HSM), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium, currently under business rescue.

The company will pay R150 million in cash and a further R150 million subject to the occurrence of a payment trigger event. ArcelorMittal currently has a manufacturing agreement in terms of which it supplies bloom and slabs to HSM, it also had an option to purchase the business of HSM.

Refinitiv

The news and information provider, Reuters, has confirmed that, along with Blackstone, it had agreed to sell Refinitiv, which provides data and news to financial customers, to the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) in a $27bn all-share deal.

The all-share deal will allow LSEG to take control of Refinitiv, whose Eikon terminals on trading floors challenge those provided by Bloomberg, from a consortium led by Blackstone and including Thomson Reuters, which owns the Reuters news service.

“The acquisition of Refinitiv is transformational,” said David Schwimmer, the chief executive of LSEG. “It is a rare and compelling opportunity to combine two world class businesses and create a global financial infrastructure leader. We will continue to be a global business headquartered in the UK.”

Schwimmer said the deal would increase its presence in the US, the world’s biggest financial market, and also allow it to expand in Asia and emerging markets.