M&A Roundup: Cell C and MTN roaming agreement making headlines

Also: RMB Holdings sells its stake in FirstRand and Barloworld reduces interest in Avis Fleet.

After months of negotiations, Cell C and MTN have finally concluded a roaming agreement. 

This roaming agreement will see Cell C’s 4G network coverage extended to 95 percent of the population. Cell C customers will have access to over 12,500 sites, of which 90 percent are LTE enabled. 

Read more: Cell C and MTN sign expanded roaming deal

RMB Holdings has announced that it will be distributing its R130 billion stake in FirstRand to shareholders as part of a restructuring process. 

RMB Holdings owns a 34 percent stake in FirstRand. The move will see FirstRand split from its First National Bank and original founders.

Read more: RMB Holdings to give shareholders its R130 billion FirstRand stake 

Barloworld said it will reduce its interest in subsidiary Avis Fleet to 50 percent because of low returns. The sale of the interest in Avis, for an undisclosed amount, would be finalised in the next 12 months, Barloworld said on Monday.

Barloworld CEO Dominic Sewela (pictured) said the company will bring in equity partners to take up a 50 percent stake. In the 2018 financial year, Avis Fleet’s revenue was R3.3 billion, while operating profit was R641 million. 

Read more: Barloworld to reduce stake in Avis Fleet 

Taste Holdings on Tuesday announced it would offload food brands Maxi’s and The Fish & Chip Company as part of its continuing change and new strategic direction. 

Read more: Taste Holdings sells Maxi’s and the Fish & Chip Company

Life Healthcare is exploring an exit from Poland after taking a multi-million rand impairment charge during its financial year to end-September.

In Poland, Life Healthcare owns the Scanmed hospital group and provides diagnostic services through Alliance Medical. The company acquired a majority stake in Scanmed in 2014. Life Healthcare said on Thursday it was exploring strategic options for a potential exit from this market. Regulatory changes in Poland affected minimum employments costs and resulted in an impairment in the value of its Polish investment of R125 million.

Read more: South Africa’s Life Healthcare plans Poland exit

Steinhoff International said on Monday its Australasian subsidiary Greenlit Brands sold its general merchandise division to Allegro Funds, as the South African retailer grapples with the fallout of an accounting scandal worth about $7 billion.

“The sale of Greenlit Brands General Merchandise division is a further step in Steinhoff’s programme of planned divestments,” Louis du Preez, Steinhoff Group CEO said.

Read more: Steinhoff’s Australasian unit Greenlit to sell merchandise division

Tongaat Hulett said on Tuesday afternoon that it would be disposing of its interest in its Namibian business in a bid to tackle debt.

Tongaat Hulett owns an effective 51 percent beneficial interest in Tongaat Hulett Namibia. The entire sugar packaging and distribution business would be sold to Bokomo Namibia for R220 million. The deal is still subject to certain conditions. Tongaat Hulett's share of the proceeds - or R112.2 million before deductions for taxes and transaction costs – would be used to reduce its debt levels, the statement said. 

Read more: Tongaat offloads Namibian company to Bokomo