The top M&A news that dominated headlines in 2021

These are the big M&A stories that grabbed the attention of our community this year.

Several stories dominated the headlines this year, including Omnia selling 90 percent of its stake in Umongo Petroleum, Altron selling its People Solutions business to focus on its Altron 2.0 strategy, and Veliswa Rozani (pictured) explaining how she played a critical role in the merger of Barloworld Motor Retail and NMI Durban South Motors.

Offloading non-core assets
Chemical manufacturer Omnia decided to sell its 90 percent stake in Umongo Petroleum after determining that it was non-core to Omnia’s strategy of focusing on the agriculture and mining sectors.

According to Omnia group FD Stephan Serfontein, Omnia is committed to its long-term strategy of reducing non-core asset weight. “Management is committed to the continued strategic execution, which includes the sale of assets identified as non-core,” said Stephan.

Furthermore, the company is laser-focused on primarily growing its core businesses, which have a rich legacy and are deeply rooted within target sectors, strengthening internal capacity, and ensuring Omnia is fit to serve its markets in a sustainable manner by supporting environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) and sustainable development goals (SDG) goals.

“We will remain steadfast to our strategic intent and assess organic and inorganic growth opportunities based on their ability to deliver solid returns on capital to our shareholders, support our core businesses and enhance our value propositions to existing and new customers,” he said.

Read more: Umongo Petroleum not part of Omnia's sustainable future, says FD Stephan Serfontein

Altron 2.0 strategy
Altron, on the other hand, announced the sale of its Altron People Solutions business. According to group CFO Nicholas Bofilatos, the Altron 2.0 strategy is the IT company’s way of keeping capital light, with high annuity revenue within their identified growth areas of cloud, data, security, and custom application development.

Altron decided to divide the company and sell it to two buyers, both of whom it believes are “ideally positioned to provide exciting new growth opportunities in an environment where they can flourish”.

The business process outsourcing, and customer experience technology divisions of Altron People Solutions have been sold to Dubai-based iSON Xperiences, which is looking to expand its African footprint, while the learning solutions division has been acquired by South African management consultancy LRMG.

Read more: Altron sells People Solutions business to focus on Altron 2.0 strategy says Nicholas Bofilatos

Motoring giants join forces
Behind every successful merger, there is a great woman, or so the saying goes in the case of Veliswa Rozani, who played a critical role in the merger of two motoring powerhouses, Barloworld Motor Retail and NMI Durban South Motors (NMI-DSM).

As part of its asset-light business strategy, Barloworld announced earlier this year that it would sell its motor retail business to NMI-DSM, a joint venture of the Barloworld Group and the Akoo family, for R947 million.

The transaction, dubbed a coup by industry insiders, was completed as planned on 1 June, with Barloworld retaining a 50 percent stake in NMI-DSM.

The motor retail division was once part of the Barloworld Automotive Division, which operated automobile franchise dealerships in South Africa and Botswana for worldwide brands such as Audi, BMW, Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Isuzu, Mazda, Volkswagen, and Mercedes Benz.

Read more: Visionary Woman Leader: CFO Veliswa Rozani delivers the sale of Barloworld Motor Retail