Top deals making headlines this week

In focus this week: Tongaat Hulett, Alexander Forbes, Prosus, Conduit Capital, Bell Equipment and more. 

Tongaat Hulett

Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett, which had a negative net asset value of R3 billion at the end of March, said on Wednesday that it would only seek to have the suspension of its share on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange lifted in 2020.

The company will wait until issuing a trading update for its six months to end-September, given the extent and complexity of remedial actions, internal cost-cutting plans and other restructuring initiatives undertaken by the board and management since the end of March, the company said. This update is expected to be released in the second half of January, it said. Read more here.

Prosus

Technology investment company, Prosus, has raised its bid for U.K. food delivery firm Just Eat as it tries to win over investors and beat out an offer from rival Takeaway.com.

Prosus is a spin-off of South African e-commerce group Naspers. The company increased its cash offer to 740 pence per share, valuing Just Eat at about £5.1 billion pounds ($6.7 billion), Prosus said in a statement on Monday.

Just Eat’s management has been encouraging investors to vote for Takeaway’s all-share deal, which would give them scale and access to Takeaway’s technology, arguing that Prosus’s offer undervalued the company even as a slide in Takeaway’s share price pushed down the value of its all-stock offer. As of Friday, after a month-long rally, Takeaway’s bid valued Just Eat shares at 710 pence each. Read more here.

Alexander Forbes

Alexander Forbes plans to make acquisitions that will bolster the retirement-services provider’s consulting and administration capabilities, as part of its refocused strategy, according to Bloomberg.“We will start looking outside for growth,” CEO Dawie de Villiers (pictured) said in a Bloomberg interview on Monday. “We have done the sales now, so 2020 will be about the acquisitions and that is key for us.”

Since taking the reins in November 2018, Dawie has been exiting countries such as Uganda and Zambia, while disposing of subscale businesses, including its property and casualty insurance unit in South Africa. Read more here.

Aveng 

Embattled construction group Aveng said the sale of its Grinaker-LTA Ground Engineering (GEL) business fell through due to the purchaser being unable to raise the R7.5 million required.

The share price of Aveng, which is selling off noncore assets to bolster its balance sheet, has lost more than 99 percent of its value since the beginning of 2017. The failed deal is a setback for the company, Aveng said that it would continue to explore alternative options to sell this noncore business. The sale is part of Aveng’s disposal of noncore assets after the company’s strategic review in February 2018. Read more here.

Conduit Capital

Investment holding company Conduit Capital has reached an agreement to sell its insurance business to Namibian financial services group Trustco for R2 billion in a move to improve its financial position. Conduit Capital is led by Sean Riskowitz

The transaction would enable Conduit shareholders to benefit from an investment in a larger and diversified financial services company with operations in South Africa, Namibia and other international markets, Conduit said on Monday.Read more here.

Bell Equipment

In demonstrating its ongoing commitment to transformation and black economic empowerment (BEE) ownership in South Africa, the subsidiaries of  machine industry company Bell Equipment have entered into transactions that will result in both being 51 percent black-owned.

The transaction involves Bell Equipment Company South Africa and Bell Equipment Sales South Africa – both subsidiaries of Bell Equipment. To this end, the board of Bell Equipment approved the transaction, together with the restructure of Bell Equipment Group, to facilitate the BEE transaction, which will become effective from January 1, 2020. Read more here.

Metair

Metair, the manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components, said on Wednesday that it has received unsolicited offers for its battery business. The company is led by Theo Loock.

The company will be engaging with shareholders over the offers, having concluded that its two businesses, the automotive components and energy storage units, “are in two different strategic positions and that a managed separation of the two will unlock value for stakeholders”. Read more here.