M&A Roundup: 2019 - set to be tough but also rewarding

Dealmakers are looking at Kenya, Group Five sells of its subsidiaries and Helios Towers enters SA market.

Coal exploration, development and mining company MC Mining announced on Monday that its R70 million acquisition of two properties for its Makhado coal project has been completed.

Read more: MC Mining completes purchase of Makhado coal project

Kenya’s resilient economy has prompted more investors to be bullish about the country while being cautious about the oil-rich western part of the continent, said Edmund Higenbottam (pictured), the MD of Verdant Capital, a specialist corporate finance firm.

“South Africa is by far the most consistent M&A market in Africa. South Africa is a two-way market; whether the market is going up or down, there is still deals to be done. If you look at frontier markets such as Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, they are one-way markets; meaning that when the market is going up, deals get done but when the market goes down and business confidence starts going down, nothing happens,” he said.

Read more: Why Verdant Capital's Edmund Higenbottam is bullish about Kenya

India's Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy Telkom Kenya, the East African nation's smallest telecoms operator, according to a report by Reuters.

Read more: Bharti Airtel said to be in talks to buy Telkom Kenya

JSE-listed healthcare group Ascendis Health said on Monday that it has received a buyout offer for its Remedica business unit based in Cyprus.

Remedica is a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Cyprus that was acquired by Ascendis Health in 2016 for R4.4 billion.

Read more: Ascendis Health gets buyout offer on Remedica business unit

Telecommunications tower operator Helios Towers has entered the South African market through a partnership with local partner Vulatel, saying it expects to make “major greenfield wireless and fixed-line telecoms infrastructure investments in South Africa.”

Read more: Helios Towers enters South African market with Vulatel partnership

The private equity market is an important source of funds for start-up firms, private middle-market firms, firms in financial distress, and public firms seeking buyout financing. It’s also a big driver of M&A activity. 

The year 2018 was considered to be difficult considering increasing volatile financial markets, political and economic uncertainty and the scarcity in quality assets. There is a consensus that 2019 will be an equally difficult year but it will be also rewarding. 

Read more: Private equity outlook for 2019

India’s education technology firm, Byju’s said it will acquire Osmo, a US-based learning platform for $120 million (R1.6 billion) – part of the firm’s ambition to expand internationally.

Read more: India's Byjus acquires US-based Osmo

South Africa’s Competition Tribunal, which assess competition issues on mergers and acquisitions, has approved private firm Agile Capital’s bid to increase its shareholding in Provest Group.

Read  more: South Africa's Competition Tribunal approves Agile Capital's merger with Provest Group

South Africa’s struggling construction firm Group Five said on Thursday that it plans to sell its Everite and Sky Sands subsidiaries to a consortium comprising Trinitas Private Equity and Agile Capital for R480 million.

Read more: Group Five to sell manufacturing subsidiaries for R480 million