Top deals making headlines this week

In focus this week: Naspers, South32, Barrick Gold, Halo Labs and more.

Anadarko 

US energy firm Anadarko plans to invest $25 billion (R362 billion) in developing gas reserves off the northern coast of Mozambique, the Mozambican government said on Tuesday.

The government hailed Anadarko’s plans “largest foreign investment” in the country’s history.

Anadarko is one of several global companies investing billions in offshore exploration. The liquefied natural gas project Dolphin Tuna foresees an investment of $25 billion, Mozambique’s energy ministry said in a statement.

The investment is the latest chapter of what Mozambique hopes will become a tale of economic rebirth after gigantic gas reserves were discovered at the beginning of the decade off the northern Cabo Delgado province in the southeast African nation. Read more here

Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold has received an extension until July 9 from the UK takeover panel to consider making a formal offer to buy out the minority shareholders of its African unit Acacia Mining.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Toronto-based miner said it has received more time from the regulator as its previous deadline was set to expire on June 18. “This extension will allow for the continuation of discussions with the independent directors and further engagement with Acacia’s shareholders concerning the proposal made to Acacia,” the company said.  Read more here

Naspers

Naspers Foundry, the R1.4 billion start-up fund launched by Naspers, says it will invest R30 million in South African tech start-up SweepSouth, an online cleaning service that connects clients with domestic cleaners.

Launched at the South Africa Investment Conference in October 2018, Naspers Foundry is a R1.4 billion start-up fund aimed at boosting South Africa’s technology sector. This is the fund’s first investment since it was launched.

Co-founded in 2014 by Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribec, SweepSouth says it has recorded exceptional growth, creating jobs for more than 10,000 people. Read more here.

Halo Labs

Canadian-listed Halo Labs has agreed to buy Lesotho-based medicinal cannabis producer Bophelo Bioscience & Wellness for about $18.4 million (R262m) as it looks to expand into global markets. 

“The transaction is expected to strengthen the company’s position in Lesotho, a country quickly becoming the continent’s export gateway to the global cannabis market,” said Halo, a cannabis company listed on Toronto’s NEO Exchange.

Lesotho, the first African country to grant medical marijuana licences for cultivation and patient use, “is making strides toward becoming the worldwide export hub for cannabis”, Halo said.

The company’s initial partnership with Bophelo, which is chaired by SA business person Louisa Mojela, included the operation of its 5ha cultivation and production site and the purchase of its entire production in exchange for a 20 percent equity stake and a royalty on cannabis sales.  But Halo now wants to buy out Bophelo using 40.8-million of its shares. It said in a statement it intended appointing Louisa as chair of Halo. 

South32  

Seriti Resources and a consortium backed by global energy trader Mercuria are among up to six groups to have submitted final bids for the SA coal assets of South32, according to a Reuters report.

A consortium backed by Exxaro Resources dropped out of the race due to competition issues as the firm is already a major coal producer and supplier to Eskom, sources told Reuters. The government is also encouraging black-owned businesses to participate more in the economy, according to Reuters.

The bids are expected to be submitted by June 30. Read more here

Alviva 

JSE-listed technology group Alviva said it has reached an agreement to acquire 70 percent of business software specialist Synerg South Africa for up to R108 million.

The deal, which is expected to be effective from July 1, 2019, is being done through its subsidiary DCT Holdings.

In a separate deal, Alviva has also entered into an agreement to acquire 51 percent of the issued share capital of Synerg United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Synerg United Kingdom (UK) – the Synerg Group – respectively, through its subsidiary Alviva International Investments. Read more here

Vivo Energy

Vivo Energy has entered into a joint venture to roll out KFC restaurants in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, the company announced on Thursday.

The company, which listed on the JSE in May 2018, operates petrol stations in Africa under the Shell and Engen brands. Vivo Energy said it had agreed to form a joint venture with Kuku Foods East Africa, which owns KFC franchises in the region.

Vivo Energy CEO Christian Chammas said the partnership would “replicate the KFC joint venture model we pioneered in Botswana and Côte d’Ivoire”. “Kuku Foods shares our ambition to invest in order to grow the number of restaurants and give more African customers access to the internationally renowned KFC brand,” Chammas said.

The 50:50 joint venture will manage and operate the restaurants on behalf of Kuku Foods, which will remain the local KFC franchisee, Vivo Energy said. Kuku Foods plans to open its first KFC restaurant in Rwanda in 2019, Vivo Energy said.

“The joint venture will enable a significant increase in the number of KFC restaurants in the portfolio in the coming years,” Vivo Energy said.

“It is envisaged that many of the new restaurants will be opened at Vivo Energy’s network of service stations across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which leverages Vivo Energy’s retail footprint, with more countries to be considered in the future, based on market opportunities.”

Centum 

Nairobi and Uganda Securities Exchanges-listed Centum Investments has announced the sale of its shareholding in Almasi Beverages and Nairobi Bottlers to Coca-Cola Sabco East Africa.  

Centum Investments, an investment holding company, holds a 53.9 percent stake in Almasi Beverages and a 27.6 percent stake in Nairobi Bottlers. The deal has a total valuation of 19.5 billion shillings (about R2.8 billion). Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is set to be closed in the next four months. Read more here

AgDevCo

AgDevCo, a UK-based impact investor specialising in agribusiness investments in sub-Saharan Africa, has announced its first investment in Kenya.

AgDevCo has signed a partnership with Root Capital, a financial institution that funds the agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Through this investment, AgDevCo will invest $5 million (R74 million) in a consortium of four Kenyan firms specialised in macadamia nuts processing and exports. Read more here