Category Archives: Athi River Mining

M&A Moment: November 2019

A roundup of East Africa merger deals announced, ongoing, or completed in the latter half of the year 2019. Most are drawn from approval decisions from the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK Kenya).

The deals include:

Airline/ Oil/Energy/Mining M&A

  • The CAK authorized the proposed acquisition of 863,477 Series B preferred shares in Windgen Power USA Inc. by Omidyar Network Fund LLC, Acumen Fund Inc., Stitching DOB Equity and Microgrid Catalytic Capital Partners.
  • Rubis, having completed the takeover of Kenol, are now going after Gulf Energy, the fourth-largest fuel marketer in Kenya with 46 stations.
  • A bid by the owners of IberAfrica, Kenya’s largest thermal power producer, to sell the company to a South African energy firm has collapsed. Read more.

Banking and Finance: Finance, Law, & Insurance M&A

  • The CAK approved the proposed merger between Commercial Bank of Africa and NIC Group on condition that they retain 1,872 employees for a period of 12 months. Post-merger, the market share of the entity will be 10.67%, making it the country’s second-largest bank.
  • Equity Group entered a non-binding agreement with certain shareholders of Banqué Commerciale du Congo (BCDC), for the purchase for cash of a controlling equity stake in BCDC, with a view to eventually amalgamating the business of BCDC with that of EGH’s existing banking subsidiary in DRC, Equity Bank Congo.
  • The CAK approved the proposed acquisition of National Bank of Kenya by KCB Group on condition that 90% of the merged entity’s employees will be retained for a period of eighteen months.
  • Fund manager ICEA Lion Asset Management has signed an agreement to acquire Stanlib Kenya’s business of managing funds, assets and investment in Kenya – including the Fahari I-REIT – in a deal valued at Kshs 1.5 billion. 
  • The business of non-deposit taking micro-finance carried on by Kenya Ecumenical Church Loan Fund has been transferred to ECLOF Kenya. 
  • The CAK has authorized the proposed acquisition of 93.57% of  Transnational Bank Plc by Access Bank Plc.
  • Exim Bank Tanzania acquired UBL Bank, a subsidiary of Pakistan’s UBL Bank, as part of its plan to expand nationwide and become a top- five bank in the country. It now has assets of 1.7 trillion Tanzania shillings. 
  • In 2017 private equity firm Capitalworks acquired AON’s shareholding in several African operations, alongside local shareholders including governments in many markets.
  • I&M Holdings unit, GA insurance has acquired 100% of Nova Insurance Company in Uganda. It is part of GA’s plan to expand across East Africa where insurance penetration remains low. (via Kenyan Wall Street).

Agri-Business, Food & Beverage M&A

  • Coca-Cola Sabco (East Africa), which owned 72% of Nairobi Bottlers, has bought 27.6% of that company from Centum Investments, along with 53.9 % of Almasi Bottlers for a total of Kshs 19.2 billion. Centum states that the stakes had a combined value of Kshs 16.8 billion. CAK approved the deals on condition that it continues to operate current bottling plants in Nyeri, Eldoret, Nairobi, Molo and Kisumu for at least three years and retains 1,749 of the 1,760 permanent employees for the same period. Also that Almasi reserves 20% of the storage space in its coolers to SMEs for products (excluding products of Coca-Cola’s three largest global competitors). Coca Cola shall also allow Coastal Bottlers to distribute other non-alcoholic ready-to-drink brands.
  • The CAK approved Vivo Energy B.V.’s proposed investment in Kuku Foods which operates 24 outlets in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Nanyuki under franchise from America’s Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).
  • The CAK approved the proposed subscription of 33.9% and joint control of Maziwa by Pledge Holdco, which is wholly-owned by Texas Pacific Group (TPG). Maziwa is owned by Bainne and distributes of milk and milk-related products in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia under the brand name ‘Lola’.  The CA determined that the main players in the processed milk market, were Brookside Dairy (40%), New Kenya Co-operative Creameries, (25%), Sameer Agriculture (14%) and Githunguri Dairy Co-operatives (12%) while the merged entity will have a market share of 3.9%.
  • The CAK approved the acquisition of 100% of Aquamist Ltd by Aquapani Ltd. Aquapani is newly incorporated in Kenya as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Menengai for the sole purpose of this transaction. The deal is being done alongside Aquaplast which manufactures PET bottles, jars and closures and Polycarbonate plastics for refillable water containers mainly for the bottling business of Aquamist.
  • The CA-K approved an investment by Stitching DOB Equity and Acumen Fund into Coconut Holdings which had a turnover of Kshs 162 million in 2018. More here.
  • The CA-K approved the acquisition of 100% of Gilani Butchery by Upland Meat Products. Gilani had s turnover of Kshs 116.9 million in 2017.

Health and Medical, Pharmaceutical M&A

  • The CAK authorized the proposed acquisition of Honos Parent Ltd By Doctor No Parent Ltd
  • US pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson has teamed up with private equity firms, South Africa’s Inqo Investments and London-based Sumerian Partners, to buy out Naivasha-based South Lake Medical Centre in a deal valued at nearly Kshs 100 million. The hospital was acquired from Flamingo Horticulture which had established the facility to serve its low-income farmworkers.  
  • Interswitch has acquired eClat, expanding its reach into Nigeria’s health-tech sector. The move is the latest in a series of strategic investments into Africa’s growing digital marketplace by the firm. Asoko has tracked 8 other deals in the Nigerian health care industry since 2015, of which the eClat deal is the second involving a health-tech firm. Investors were most active in the pharmaceutical segment, with three deals in that space over the period. (via Asoko
  • The CAK authorized the acquisition of 54.23% of AAR Health Care Holdings by Hospital Holdings Investments.

Logistics, Engineering, & Manufacturing M&A

  • The  CAK authorized the proposed acquisition of all ARM Kenya‘s (Under Administration) businesses, assets and properties by National Cement Company on condition that the merged entity ensures continued operation at ARM’s Kaloleni and Athi River plants and retains 95% of ARMs 1,100 employees.
  • The CAK authorized the proposed acquisition of the plastic manufacturing business of Metro Plastics (Kenya) by Metro Concepts East Africa on condition that the acquirer absorbs at least ninety employees.
  • CAK has authorized the proposed acquisition of control of Chemi & Cotex Kenya by Unilever Overseas Holdings B.V on condition that the acquirer continues providing the products (Whitedent, Bodyline, Baby Soft, Skin Glow, Siri, U & Me, Lovely, Barnister and Tressa) in the market for at least three years.
  • The CAK approved the proposed acquisition of an additional 47.5% shareholding in Speedex Logistics Ltd by Suresh Naran Varsani. The transaction will result in a change of ownership from joint to sole control.
  • The CA-K approved the acquisition of direct control by Tuffsteel in Hwan Sung Industries Kenya which has a turnover of Kshs 5.8 million in 2018.

Real Estate, Tourism, & Supermarkets M&A

  • The CAK approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Quick Mart by Sokoni Retail Kenya, which is owned by Adenia Partners of Mauritius, a private equity fund manager. Quick Mart, incorporated in 2006, has 10 supermarket outlets located in Kiambu, Nairobi and Nakuru counties. In October 2018, Sokoni had acquired Tumaini Self Service, another retailer in Kenya with 13 outlets located in Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, and Kisumu counties. EDIT Quickmart has recently undergone a merger with Tumaini Self service stores and the merged entity will be the third largest retailer in Kenya, backed by a strong institutional investor, with plans to open 6 stores over the next year.
  • The CAK approved the proposed acquisition, with controlling rights, of 22.32%  of the Riara Group of Schools by Actus Education Holdings AB. Riara operates six learning institutions in Kenya which offer the 8.4.4 and British Curriculum education systems. The CA found that of the schools offering British Curriculum, Braeburn Schools with 10.2% of the students, Aga Khan Academy 7.1%, Srimad Premier Academy 3.8%, and Oshwal Academy 3.4%. The CAK has approved the acquisition of 100% of the shares in Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies by Heritour Ltd. One of Abercrombie’s Kenya subsidiaries is a tour operator that offers tourist accommodation in the Maasai Mara.

Telecommunications, Media & Publishing M&A

  • The CAK authorized the proposed acquisition of 100% shareholding in Eaton Towers Holdings by ATC Heston B.V 
  • BRCK has acquired the Surf Network. BRCKs Moja Network passed 300,000 unique monthly users in January, with 1,500 mobile nodes in buses and matatus across Nairobi and Kigali. The new acquisition takes them close to 500,000 active monthly unique users,  and they state this is the largest public Wi-Fi network in East Africa, and second-largest on the continent. 
  • Co-creation Hub (CcHUB), the leading technology innovation centre in Nigeria, acquired Kenya’s iHub for an undisclosed fee. The deal will see the iHub become part of the CcHUB’s network, while retaining its name and senior management structure.  The move comes seven months after CcHUB expanded into Rwanda, with the launch of its Design Lab. 
  • The Airtel-Telkom merger is still ongoing. Kenya’s Parliament has raised some queries about the transfer of government assets and shares as has the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Rival Safaricom also stepped in and pressed for the two companies to settle a combined debt of Kshs 1.3 billion they are owed before the transfer is completed. They also argue that the merged entity will have an outsize frequency allocation (77.5 MHz of spectrum serving 17.3 million customers) compared to Safaricom (who serve 31.8 million customers with 57.5 MHz) and ask that this is rebalanced. EDIT December 14: The Competition Authority has approved the proposed acquisition of the mobile operations, enterprise and carrier services business of Telkom Kenya by Airtel Networks Kenya with conditions including; the merged entity shall not sell or transfer its licenses (Network facility provider, applications service provider, content service provider, submarine cable landing ) and frequency spectrum (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz), with the 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz ones reverting to the Government after they expire. Also, the merged entity shall honour all agreements and not enter any sale agreements (for five years). It shall retain 114 Telkom Kenya employees for two years and 115 others of the merged entity and not enjoy preferential access to the 4,204 kilometers of fibre managed by Telkom on behalf of the Government.
  • The CAK authorized the proposed acquisition of 100% of  De La Rue Kenya by HID Corporation on condition that all existing contracts De La Rue has with the Kenyan Government are honoured.
  • The CAK has authorized the proposed establishment of a joint venture and the acquisition of control of certain assets of Kul Graphics, The Rodwell Press, Printfast Kenya, Digital Hub and Colourprint by The Print Exchange on condition that the parties retain 100 permanent employees of the merger parties for a period of one year after completion of the transaction and the 72 contractual employees serve to the end of their contracts.  In May 2019, the directors of the six companies had announced plans to merge due to the printing industry’s price sensitivity and demands for new technological innovations that had created financial and operational challenges for them.
  • The CAK has approved the acquisition of 80% of iWayAfrica Kenya by Echotel International Proprietary. iWayAfrica Kenya provides a range of ICT services. The CA estimated market shares for the main providers of retail Internet access services to be Telkom Kenya (28%), Liquid Telecom (25%), Safaricom (14%), Internet Solutions (13%) and Simbanet (4%). iWayKenya is at 1.2% and Echotel at 0.6%.
  • It was announced this week that two of Tanzania’s best-known telecommunications companies – Tigo and Zantel – have completed there merger, combining their operations on both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. (via Arden Kitomari)
  • The CA-K approved the acquisition of direct control of Digital Packaging Innovation Holdings and A-One Plastics by Rifts Investments.
  • ScanGroup is set to sell two of its subsidiaries for more than Sh2.4 billion in a deal that was triggered by a related transaction involving its London-based parent company WPP Plc with Bain Capital. Read more.

Other M&A

  • The business carried on by Pa’shante Enterprises in Nairobi has been sold and transferred to Pashante Greens Africa.
  • The assets and inventory of Mapflex East Africa at Airport North Road will be transferred to Actiflex Ltd. 
  • The business of a barber and spa carried on Crystal Barber and Spa on Kiambu Road has been sold and transferred to Esther Kinya Guantai. 

Since the last update in January 2019

ARM Cement goes into Insolvency

The appointment last Friday of joint administrators for ARM Cement was a surprise for the shareholders of the cement company that is listed on the NSE. But by ARM going into insolvency, this will give the company an opportunity to continue operations while organizing its debt position.

ARM Cement had loans with Stanbic Bank Kenya, African Finance Corporation and overdrafts with  Barclays, Stanbic, Guaranty Trust and UBA banks. Maweni, its Tanzanian subsidiary, had loans with Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank), and Development Bank of South Africa and overdrafts with Stanbic and Standard Bank (Mauritius). The financial statements for the year prior to the ARM insolvency noted that the company was not in compliance with financial covenants  with AFC, Stanbic, and Aureos

The ARM Insolvency move comes two years after Britain’s CDC invested in the company and became its largest shareholder, while earlier this year the company insisted a process to sell its non-cement businesses to further reduce its debt position.

But the moves appear to have not been completely successful and there have been a raft of board changes this year that has seen the exit of Pradeep Paunrana the company CEO and founding family representative and other longtime directors of the company and the arrival  last week of Linus Gitahi (former CEO of the Nation Media Group), as the new Chairman alongside other directors from CDC . The ARM insolvency move apparently has the support of CDC.

EDIT August 19: Official  Statement: ARM CEMENT PLC (In Administration) 9 TH FLOOR, THE WESTWOOD, RING ROAD, WESTLANDS P.O. BOX 41908 – 00100 NAIROBI, KENYA

To all shareholders and Stakeholders,
ARM CEMENT PLC (IN ADMINISTRATION) -PRESS RELEASE. _____________________________________________
As the Board, we acknowledge that on 17 August 2018, ARM Cement PLC was placed under administration following an application by the secured lenders. The running of the Company has now been placed in the hands of PwC’s Muniu Thoithi and George Weru, who have been named the Joint Administrators of ARM Cement Plc.

According to the Kenyan Insolvency Act, Administration is a proceeding intended to maintain the company as a going concern. The powers of the Board transfer to the Administrator who owes its duties to the company, and to the court. This is in contrast with receivership, where the Administrator owes duty to creditors.

We support any orderly process that secures the long-term viability of the company and the future of employees, suppliers and other stakeholders and shall lend our support where called upon to ensure that this goal is realized.

By Order of the Board
LINUS GITAHI (Kenyan), PRADEEP H PAUNRANA (Kenyan), JOHN NGUMI (Kenyan), ROHIT ANAND (British) KONSTANTIN MAKAROV (American), SOFIA BIANCHI (Italian),ALIYA SHARIFF (Canadian),THIERRY METRO (French).
TEL: +254 202 692 978 (PILOT LINE) + 254 202 667 675/6 MOB: + 254 733 636 456 EMAIL: INFO@ARMCEMENT.COM WEBSITE: WWW.ARMCEMENT.COM

EDIT May 21 2019: The Joint Administrators of ARM Cement PLC, George Weru and Muniu Thoithi of PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that National Cement Company had signed an agreement for the acquisition of all cement and non-cement assets and business of ARM Cement PLC in Kenya as a going concern for a purchase price of USD 50M (~Kshs 5 billion). National Cement, a cement manufacturer and distributor under the “Simba Cement” brand, is a subsidiary of the Devki Group.

Absa Bank, through Barclays Financial Services and Barclays Kenya, acted as financial advisers to the Company, while Walker Kontos acted as legal advisers to the Administrators and Bowmans (Coulson Harney LLP) acted as legal advisers to National Cement.

ARM sells Mavuno Fertilizer and non-cement business for $16M

As part of the continued restructuring since CDC invested in the company in 2016,  ARM Cement is selling its non-cement subsidiaries for $16 million to reduce the debt of the company and strengthen its position in its core cement business.

A shareholder’s extraordinary general meeting on January 22 is expected to green light the disposal of its industrial minerals business, fertilizer business (to Mavuno Fertilizer), its silicates business to ARM Energy and its mining business to ARM Minerals.

After the transactions, the companies will cease to be subsidiaries of ARM and be owned as:  

  • ARM Minerals and Chemicals (will be 100% owned by 100% by Mavuno fertilizers), which will be 51% owned by Omya (Schweiz) AG and 49% by Pinner Heights Kenya.
  • ARM Energy: will be 100% owned by Pinner Heights Kenya.

Pinner Heights is owned by a trust set up for the benefit of ARM’s long-time Managing Director and key man, Pradeep Paunrana who owns 11% of ARM Cement, and his immediate family. A leasing company Vaell has sought an injunction stop the transactions and repossess vehicles leased to ARM Cement, but ARM has objected in court as the assets are not part of the non-cement business being sold.  

Elsewhere, a UK firm Exotix has issued a warning on Kenya cement company valuations with the view that the listed cement companies are overvalued due to high prices of clinker, foreign exchange losses and exposure of Kenyan companies to cheaper imports unlike their peer companies in neighbouring countries. Exotix recommends price downgrades of Bamburi Cement (by 2% from the current share price of Kshs 180), ARM Cement (by 22% from Kshs 13) and East African Portland Cement Company (by 32% from Kshs 27).

$1 = Kshs 103.

Athi River Cement EGM

The shareholders of ARM Cement (Athi River Mining) will meet on  August 25 in Nairobi to approve the investment into the company by CDC Group (formerly Commonwealth Development Corporation), the UK government-owned development finance institution. CDC will become anchor shareholder who may contribute to stabling the company share price to the benefit of existing shareholders. 

ARM Cement Rhino

  • If shareholders allow the investment of Kshs 14.14 billion, and other approvals are received, CDC (through CDC Africa Cement) will own 37% of the company.
  • The IM document (distributed to ARM shareholders) notes that CDC, which previously the used to invest through third parties, resumed directly investing in African businesses in 2012 after  change of strategy – and now has stakes including 76% of Feronia (DRC), 70% of Globeleq Power, 31% of Garden City, 24% of GEMS Africa, 20% Africa Foods (Rwanda), 15% of DFCU (Uganda), 15% Miro Forestry (Sierra Leone), and 3.7% of Bridge Academies.
  • Shareholders will approve an increase of ARM’s share capital from 675 million to 960 million through creation of 285 million shares. As part of the deal, 353 million new shares will go to CDC and 90 million shares will go to the ARM employee share ownership scheme (ESOP).
  • The current largest shareholders are Amanat Investments and the ARM MD (Pradeep Paunrana) with 27% and 18% respectively and their stakes will reduce to 14% and 9% in this deal, while the ARM ESOP stake could go up from 4%  to 13%.
  • The ESOP is more like an executive compensation plan as most of the shares allocated since March 2007 are to the managing director, the deputy managing directors and other senior managers. Of the 90 million new shares, 55 million are reserved for the managing director, 10 million for a family member, 5 million for the deputy managing director and 20 million for other senior managers of ARM. The amount of share be allocated are conditional on ARM meeting certain targets calculated of minimum EBITDA ($44M in 2017,  $77M in 2019) and target EBITDA ($55M in 2017, $95M in 2019) [Note: The company lost lost ~$33 million before tax in 2015 down from a  profit of $20 million in 2014]
  • The deal will also include a payment of  $20M to reduce the debt owed to the Africa Finance Corporation, another $90M in debt payments, and $30M of capital expenditure.
  • Kestrel considers the Kshs 40 price to be adequate, but a chart in the IM shows that the share price has dipped from Kshs 80 in May 2015 to hang around Kshs 40 (or below) for all of 2016. On top of that, the new deal will dilute existing shareholders by another 43%.
  • The shareholders will also change the company name (from ARM Cement Ltd) to Athi River PLC and will vote to allow (i) board meeting to be held on phone, (ii) payment of dividends by mobile money (iii) annual reports to be published in newspapers or company websites.
  • The deal also includes reconstitution of the board to have 2 directors from the promoters (MD’s group) and 2 from CDC with other independent directors. CDC will get to sit on board committees for audit & risk, strategy & investments, HR and a new one called environment, social & governance to be formed as part of the CDC code for responsible investing.
  • Deal advisors are Tradeways, Coulson Harney, Kestrel, and Deloitte.

 $1 = Kshs 101

CDC Group buys Kenya’s ARM Cement

We now have more details now about the CDC purchase of ARM Cement.

  • CDC African Cement (CADAC)  (registered in Guernsey), wholly owned by CDC Group, will pay Kshs 40 per share for 353.7 million shares – an amount of Kshs 14.1 billion  (~$139 million) to acquire $41.66% of ARM.
  • Shareholders will have to vote to increase share capital of ARM.
  • CADAC will also enter an agreement with Pradeep Paunrana (ARM’s CEO) and Amanat Investments (the main family shareholding)  (who owned 46% of the company, prior to the CDC investment) to vote in concert with CDC.
  • ARM also has to get its lenders and employees to sign on (The Employee Share Ownership Plan – ESOP had issued 21 million shares and owns about 4.6% of ARM).
  • The CADAC statement indicates they don’t intend to takeover the company, but there’s no comment on if future plans may include a delisting of ARM, which has cement operations in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa.
  • The deal is planned to be complete by July 2016.

$1 = Kshs 102.

ARM shares are trading between Kshs 36 – Kshs 37.