Top deals making headlines this week

In focus this week: International Finance Corporation, Aton, Richemont, Nampak, Engen and more.  

Richemont

JSE-listed Richemont has announced it is to acquire 100 percent of Buccellati Holding Italia, the Milan-based brand, from Chinese Gangati Group for an undisclosed sum.

Analysts said Richemont probably paid less than the €230 million Gangati Group paid for Buccellati several years ago.

The deal is expected to bolster Richemont’s existing portfolio of Cartier (pictured) and Van Cleef & Arpels and strengthens its position in the branded-jewellery market. Jewellery has become more important for the company as it’s proven to be more resilient during economic downturns than watches. Richemont has been bolstering the unit, after Cartier introduced new lines such as Clash to attract more millennials to the brand.

The acquisition will have no material effect on Richemont’s operating results in the current financial year, the Geneva-based company said in a statement.

Aton

The German conglomerate Aton, owned by the billionaire Lutz Helmig, has given up on its hostile bid to buy South Africa-based engineering and mining contractor Murray & Roberts (M&R). 

Aton owns around a third of M&R and launched a bid in 2018 to buy M&R. M&R’s board fought back against the bid, claiming that the offer was opportunistic and “made at a time of unprecedented share price weakness”.

In a statement on Monday evening, Aton said that it abandoned the takeover given the M&R board’s refusal to support the offer as well as the Competition Commission’s ruling against  the proposed merger between Aton and M&R. Read more here.

Engen 

Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) and its South Africa partners plan to conduct an initial public offering in their fuel retailer Engen to fund the upgrade of a refinery in Durban and to expand its network of petrol stations, according to a report by Bloomberg. 

A yet-to-be-decided amount of shares in the company, which is SA’s biggest fuel retailer, will likely be sold on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the first half of next year, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. JPMorgan Chase has been mandated to assist Petronas with the listing, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plan hasn’t been announced. Read more here

Clover Industries 

Food and beverage group Clover Industries will delist on October 9, following the competition authorities’ September approval of consortium Milco’s R4.8 billion bid.

The delisting from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange ends Clover’s nine-year long listing on the domestic bourse.  

The Competition Tribunal approved the takeover of Clover by Milco consortium, which is led by Tel Aviv-based Central Bottling Company (CBC). The tribunal, however, has put a three-year moratorium on retrenching 516 workers, instead of the two years proposed by Milco and Clover. The tribunal, however, has put a three-year moratorium on retrenching 516 workers, instead of the two years proposed by Milco and Clover. Read more here

Bidcorp 

South African food services company Bid Corp (Bidcorp) on Wednesday said it would sell its Best Food Logistics unit in Britain to Tesco's unit, Booker Group.

Bidcorp, which operates in Europe, United Kingdom, Australasia and emerging markets, said as a result of the deal there will be no material financial impact on its net assets or profits for the full year ending June 30, 2020.

Bidcorp said the transaction would take time to conclude, because it still needed to go through regulatory approval. “The transaction is subject to customary conditions precedent, including the approval from the Competition and Market Authority in the UK, which is expected to take several months,” the group said. Read more here

International Finance Corporation 

Tunisian startup accelerator and early-stage fund Anava Seed Fund will receive an equity investment of $1 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private arm.

Half of the money ($500,000) will be provided by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, a program hosted by the World Bank Group which empowers women-led businesses in developing countries. The second half is coming from the IFC. The new investment is part of the $30 million “Startup Catalyst” initiative that supports seed funds in emerging markets. Read more here

Nampak

Nampak, Africa’s largest diversified packaging manufacturer, has sold its glass business to Isanti Glass 1, an entity made up of a black-owned investment company and a local subsidiary of beer maker AB InBev, for about R1.5 billion.

The glass business is one of two primary glass container manufacturers in South Africa servicing beverage and food manufacturers with an estimated market share of 25 percent, Nampak said. Nampak has previously said that selling the glass business would enable it to focus on the metals business, which generates more than 60 percent of the company’s trading profit. Read more here

Pembury

Education-focused Pembury Lifestyle Group said on Friday that it may acquire new private schools even as it battles to pass going-concern tests.

“The company will consider acquiring smaller existing private schools which show growth potential, although this will be done on a conservative basis,” Pembury said.

The board, led by CEO Andrew McLachlan, said during the release of its interim results to end-June that it was satisfied it should be able to meet foreseeable cash requirements, but needed to secure new funding.

Negotiations with two funding institutions, one for bond finance and the other for structured finance, were “well advanced,” the group said. It was also engaging investors as it seeks a long-term equity partner. At the end of June, the group’s liabilities exceeded assets by R55.8 million, with the company incurring losses of R21.9 million.