Category Archives: Atlas Mara

M&A Moment: May 2021

Various merger/acquisition (M&A) deals in the last few months in East Africa since the last update.

(1 US dollar equals 110 Kenya shillings)

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

Kenyan Banks

  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 24.9% of the Montessori Learning Centre by Victoria Commercial Bank.
  • Stanbic Africa gets an extension to the end of 2021 to increase its Stanbic Kenya stake to 75%, by acquiring 14.8M shares from other shareholders through the NSE
  • Mwalimu National Sacco has acquired 100% ownership of the trouble-ridden Spire Bank from business tycoon, Naushad Merali – via @moneyacademyKE

Regional Banks

  • Equity Bank to merge BCDC_RDC & Equity Bank Congo which are its subsidiaries in DRC.
  • I&M Holdings PLC has completed the acquisition of 90% of Orient Bank Limited from 8 miles LLP and Morka Holdings Limited. OBL is the 12th largest bank and a licensed and established commercial bank in Uganda. with 70,000 customers and a network of 14 branches. 
  • KCB Group to acquire 62% of BPR, Rwanda’s second-largest bank, and 100% of Bank ABC in Tanzania – two banks that Atlas Mara had offered to Equity Group.
  • Atlas Mara to sell its Botswana bank, BancABC, and its subsidiary’s BancABC Mozambique to Access Bank.
  • Atlas Mara denies receiving offers from a Nigerian or any other bank to acquire its stake in UBN – the Union Bank of Nigeria.
  • Atlas Mara has completed the sale of BancABC, its Mozambique bank to Access Bank.

Investment Markets and Deal Makers

  • The Johannesburg Stock Exchange to acquire a majority stake in South Africa’s second-largest share registry.

Insurance

  • Allianz will acquire a controlling stake in Jubilee Insurance’s property & casualty business in Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda and the short-term insurance in Burundi and Mauritius for USD 100 million. In the deal, Jubilee will acquire the business of Allianz in Kenya to draw on its global expertise in retail, digital insurance, and micro-insurance.
  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 56% of Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE Africa) by Zep Re (PTA Insurance Company)
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Resolution Leapfrog Holding by Linkham Services.
  • Liberty Holdings to buy out the Coronation (Hilton, Vanderbilt) and Kimberlite fund shares in @LibertyLifeKe in a private deal. Liberty shareholding increases from 57% to 73%, but no plans for a buy out offer and shares will remain listed on the NSE.
  • Monarch Insurance to sell a majority stake (51%) of the company to the Holmarcom Group of Morocco through its holding company “Holmarcom Insurance Activities.” The Kamu Group and Maisha Bank will remain as minority shareholders.
  • Minet Group and Africa Lighthouse Capital have acquired Aon’s shareholding in Aon Botswana, and will now operate as Minet Botswana.
  • Old Mutual Life Assurance has been acquired by UAP Life Assurance for Kshs 2.59 billion.

Remittances

  • The proposed merger involving ECP Africa Fund IV LLC and ECP Africa Fund IV A LLC and Remitix Holdings (Mauritius). Remitix is a Mauritius-based holding company, which holds the business known as the “Mukuru,” a cash remittance technology platform that allows users to send or receive money across various countries in Sub- Saharan Africa and provides foreign exchange services.
  • WorldRemit to acquire Sendwave .. in the last 12 months, the two companies have sent $7.5 billion in transfers (mainly to West and East Africa), generating $280 million in revenue
  • Stripe acquires Nigeria’s Paystack for $200M+ to expand into the African continent.
  • Ghana’s remittance firm Zeepay acquires Mangwee Mobile Money in Zambia – via @SamWakoba

Other

  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 85% of Century Microfinance Bank by Branch International on condition that they each maintain terms agreed with existing borrowers until they expire.
  • South African law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) and Nairobi-based corporate law boutique Kieti Law have agreed to a merger, established under CDH’s name.
  • Kenyan agency banking startup Tanda is expanding its operations regionally after closing a funding round and has secured key strategic partnerships with Mastercard & Interswitch. Tanda’s platform and network supports 58 banks and saccos, 4 telecoms, 12,000 merchants and agents and has served over 300,000 customers.

Agri-Business, Food & Beverage M&A

  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 50% of Bidco Land 0′ Lakes limited by Aaryan Investments.
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of control of the bakery business of Kenblest Ltd by Kenblest Foods, the proposed acquisition of the maize milling business of Kenblest Ltd by Max Grains and the proposed acquisition of control of the wheat milling business of Mcneel Millers by Kenblest Processors. Kenblest once owned 12.5% of Imperial Bank before it shut down.
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of Glacier Products by ExEo Capital through their Agri-Vie Fund II
  • Eat’N’Go acquires the Domino’s Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery franchises in Kenya – and aims to grow from running 147 stores in Nigeria and Kenya to 180 across Africa by year-end.
  • Certain assets of the manufacturing, production, processing and dealing in agricultural and farm products business carried on by DNC Foods will be transferred to Bigcold Kenya.
  • The assets of the meat processing and food distribution business carried on by Alpha Fine Foods Limited will be transferred to Bigcold Kenya.
  • Coca-Cola European Partners has acquired a 25% stake in Innovative Tap Solutions (PourMyBeer) whose technology allows consumers to pour and pay for drinks themselves, cutting queues, reducing unnecessary contact & wait times, and freeing up staff.
  • The Kenya Ministry of Defense is doing public participation to facilitate the transfer of the Kenya Meat Commission from the Ministry of Livestock to the Department of Defense.
  • The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 50% of Propack Kenya by Jaiminia Patel. Propack had a turnover of Kshs 711 million in 2019.

Logistics, Engineering, Manufacturing & Agri-Biz M&A

  • The business and assets of Mindtrac Ltd carrying out the business of e-commerce software development will be transferred to Dukaree Innovations Ltd which will carry on the business of e-commerce software development.
  • Amethis acquired a minority stake in Nouvelle Minoterie Africaine (NMA), a leading FMCG company in Sénégal, which produces and distributes poultry and livestock feed, pasta and wheat flour.
  • Carbacid shareholders vote on the Kshs 1.24 billion buyout of BOC Gases at the end of January and may de-list the acquired company in future. Carbacid set out to acquire 100% of BOC Kenya and BOC accepted the offer and agreed to retire directors, transfer trademarks, and rebrand as all employees will be retained. Carbacid and Aksaya are confident that minority BOC shareholders will accept an offer to buy 100% of the firm at Shs 63.50/share by 6 April. BOC’s board, having sold its 65%, says the deal is willing buyer, willing seller and will not make a recommendation to fellow shareholders.
  • Logistics platform Amitruck and ecommerce platform Sky.Garden announced a partnership to form an end-to-end digital chain for goods pick-up and deliveries to the last mile.
  • The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of certain assets of Orbit Enterprises by R. K. Sanghani. Orbit had a turnover of Kshs 97 million in 2019.
  • The Competition Authority has approved the proposed joint venture between Elopak AS and Nampak Southern Africa Holdings.

Airline/ Oil/Energy/Mining M&A

  • Heirs Holdings and its affiliate, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc have acquired 45% participating interest in Nigerian oil licence OML 17 (that can produce 27,000 barrels of oil per day) and related assets from Shell Nigeria, Total Nigeria and ENI and have sole operatorship of the asset. The deal involves financing of US$1.1 billion from a consortium of global and regional banks and investors (Afreximbank, ABSA, Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank of Nigeria, Hybrid Capital, and Amundi).
  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of control of Quantum Power East Africa GT Menengai limited by Globeleq, CDC’s energy firm. QPEA is among three firms that were awarded contracts by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) to develop power plants in Menengai.
  • The Nairobi Securities Exchange suspended trading in Kenya Airways shares following a request from the airline in anticipation of a government buy-out.
  • Express Kenya CEO Hector Diniz gets approval to buy another 5% and increase his combined shareholding to nearly 77%, but with no intention to make a take-over offer or delist the company from the NSE.
  • Transcorp acquired Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power in a $300 million deal in November 2020.  
  • Amitruck has secured an ‘undisclosed’ investment from Dynamo Ventures and other angel investors after completing the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa.
  • The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 60% of Raysut Cement by Zou Fengqi. Raysut had a turnover of Kshs 877 million in 2019.
  • The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 100% of Kilimapesa Gold by Mayflower Capital Investments. Kilimapesa had assets of Kshs 742 million in 2019

Education, Tourism, Real Estate & Supermarkets M&A

  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of an additional 50% in Nakuru Meadows Development by Pan African Housing Fund LLC
  • Aleph Hospitality, an independent Dubai-based hotel management company has taken over the management of three hotels – Boma Nairobi, Boma Inn Nairobi and Boma Inn Eldoret, which are owned by Red Court Hotel, a subsidiary of Kenya Red Cross Society. In Kenya, Aleph also operates the Best Western Plus Westlands in Nairobi and has been awarded the management contract for a Protea by Marriott hotel in Kisumu, as well as a business hotel to be located in Mombasa.
  • Umubano Hotel in Kigali had been acquired by Madhvani Group for $13M after years under liquidation. The main issue with previous investors has always been a failure to make the requisite investment to expand the hotel which has been managed under Laico, Novotel, Meridian and Accord.
  • Thousands of Airbnb hosts got invitations to buy shares ahead of the IPO, but some did not respond.
  • Treasury plans to merge KICC with the Bomas of Kenya.
  • The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of control of Mpala Wildlife Foundation Inc. and Mpala Ranch Ltd by  the trustees of Princeton University

Telecommunications, Education, Media & Publishing M&A

  • The East African Safari Classic Rally announced new owners, new management and a new direction for the world’s greatest classic rally, following Minti Motorsport UK’s takeover of the EASCR and Lynn Tundo was appointed as Managing Director of the Classic. 
  • MSP Sports Capital will invest £185m into McLaren Racing (McLaren F1 & IndyCar), acquiring a15% stake that will increase to 33% in 2022, in a deal that values the team at £560m.
  • American investment firm Dorilton Capital acquires the legendary family-owned Williams #F1 team.
  • TransAtlantic Capital Inc has acquired SUREBET, a Kenya licensed sports betting and lottery company. (via Nasdaq
  • Multichoice invested $112 million for a 20% investment in BetKing, a high-growth sports betting group with operations in Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia.
  • A trip down memory lane .. serendipitous that eLimu Kenya, a digital educational content firm, that was launched in the iHub, is now being acquired by iHub (CcHUB) 8 years later. – via @AmkaKenya
  • The CcHUB Syndicate that allows angels and early-stage investors to invest alongside CcHUB in high growth technology startups in Africa has funded three startups – Taeillo, Oneport and Stears Business after a due diligence process.
  • Ajua (formerly MSurvey), has acquired WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning known for its innovative Janja platform, that enables borderless banking and payments across apps and social media platforms.
  • Millicom International which trades as Tigo, has signed agreements for the sale of its operations in Tanzania and its stake in the AirtelTigo joint venture in Ghana, marking its complete exit from the African continent.

Health and Medical, Pharmaceutical M&A

  • Mastercard has invested in Kasha Global Incorporated, a purpose-driven e-commerce platform providing essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.
  • The Competition Authority had approved the proposed acquisition of control of Africa Bio Systems by Maisha Holdings.
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Dudutech Integrated Pest Management by Bioline Group SAS.

Other Notes

  • The Competition Authority seeks whistleblowers who can confidentially share information on cartel-like behaviour, price-fixing, unsafe products, unauthorized mergers etc. – and they can get a reward of Shs 1 million.
  • Safaricom restructured its strategy and innovation division in FY20 and introduced a mergers & acquisitions department to support strategic acquisitions.
  • Kenya’s Parliament has complained about why the Privatization Commission has not had a substantive board for two years, after the terms of six directors lapsed in June 2019 – and that at a time when the government is engaging with the IMF on the reform of state-owned entities, the Commission only has five directors who are mostly government officials.

Equity – Atlas Mara bank deal

Atlas Mara and Equity Bank Group announced an agreement for the exchange banking assets.

The deal will see Equity acquire Atlas Mara’s 62% shareholding in Banque Populaire du Rwanda  and Atlas Mara’s interests of 100% of BancABC Zambia, 100% of BancABC Tanzania and 100% of BancABC Mozambique in exchange for Atlas Mara receiving 252 million newly-created Equity shares worth $105 million (Kshs 10.7 billion). Through the deal, Equity expands its Africa footprint into two new countries of Mozambique and Zambia

This also came the day that Atlas Mara announced their financial results for December 2018 which ended with $2.8 billion assets and profit after tax of $34 million, which were slight declines partly attributed to reduced interest income, the enactment of IFRS9 and the economic situation in Zimbabwe.

The four banks combined constitute less than 2% of the revenue of Atlas Mara. They would all require capital and liquidity to support and will now be consolidated off the Atlas Mara balance sheet in the deal to be concluded by the end of the year. Atlas Mara will now continue to focus on core investments where they can be market leaders. In 2019, they plan on stabilizing the bank in Zimbabwe and increasing their 49.7% shareholding at Union Bank of Nigeria.

Also In the results announcement, Michael Wilkerson, the Executive Chairman of Atlas Mara wrote about being frustrated, liked other shareholders, that the company’s share prices did not represent its true value and that the new stake in Equity, digital banking leader, would help improve that. They also did a BankABC Bostwana IPO in December 2018 selling 25% of the bank to investors on the Botswana stock exchange.

EDIT: The Business Daily reported on October 9, 2019, that Equity got a $130 million (~Kshs 13 billion) discount on the purchase of the four banks from Atlas Mara whose prices were marked down after a due diligence exercise.

EDIT:  March 26 2020: Atlas Mara confirmed it was still in discussion with the  Equity Group but did not expect to conclude these in the early part of 2020. Atlas aims to publish their accounts by the end of April but has postponed their shareholders AGM set for May 2020, due to the Coronavirus scheduling impracticalities.

EDIT: June 23 2020:  Atlas Mara and Equity Group mutually agree to discontinue transaction discussions as Equity has changed strategy given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic globally and on the economies in which EGH entities operate.

The statement by Atlas Mara reads that they remain committed to implementing the previously-announced strategic decisions which include streamlining the holding company structure and related costs, and exiting or partnering in certain countries.

EDIT: September 29 2020: Atlas Mara announced that its subsidiary, ABC Holdings has entered into definitive agreements with Access Bank for the sale of its holdings in African Banking Corporation Mozambique

The transaction will include upfront cash consideration payable at closing equal to approximately 0.8 times book value as of 30 June 2020, plus additional cash consideration payable 24 months after closing of the transaction.

EDIT: November 25 2020: Equity’s main rival bank, the KCB Group announced a deal to purchase Atlas Mara’s 62% share in BPR and 96% of ABC Tanzania.  

KCB then intends to buy out the other shareholders in BPR and ABC by offering them the same cash deal. KCB will pay in cash for both banks, at price to book multiples of 1.09x for BPR and 0.42x for ABC.

Atlas Mara Prospectus Peek

EDIT August 6 2018: Atlas Mara announced that it has reached agreement in principle for a $40M new debt facility to replace the convertible bond issued to Fairfax Africa Holdings. The new debt, maturing in  July 2021, is at an average rate of10.5%, and is secured by a portion of the company’s indirect shareholding in Union Bank of Nigeria. It includes 12,400,000 detachable warrants that on exercise each allows the holder to subscribe for one ordinary share of the company at an initial strike price of $3.20.

EDIT August 30 2017: Atlas Mara is pleased to announce the closing of the offer period for the recently launched Placing and the Open Offer on 29 August 2017. The Placing and Open Offer, together with the recently announced strategic investment from Fairfax Africa (comprising a Mandatory Convertible Bond and a Firm Placing) constitutes “the Strategic Financing”. The Strategic Financing will support Atlas Mara’s growth initiatives in the acquisition of additional equity interests in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (“UBN”) and scaling up the Markets and Treasury and Fintech business lines. ..Bob Diamond, Chairman of the Board of Atlas Mara, said: “We are thrilled to have Fairfax Africa as our long-term partner. This transaction puts Atlas Mara in a very strong position to deliver on our strategic goals. We remain focused on execution and delivering on cost discipline and profitability.”

Published August 19 2017: Atlas Mara is selling 44.44 million new shares at $2.25 each to raise $100 million. Atlas Mara is acquiring 13.4% equity in Union Bank Nigeria (UBN), from Clermont Group for $55 million, increasing its stake to 44.5%.

This offer aims to raise $30 million from Fairfax Africa (a Canadian investment holding company that is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange) by selling them 13.33 million shares at $2.25 each. Fairfax will also sign up for $100 million of mandatory convertible bonds due in 2018. It is intended that the funds raised from the issue of the mandatory convertible bonds will be used to fully fund the UBN purchase and the remainder be used to fund the bank (expansion of the market, treasury and fintech business lines and product offerings) and participate in the UBN rights issue.

Atlas Mara is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (largely a tax-free territory – no income, withholding or capital gains taxes) and is the holding company for a group that provides bank and financial services across sub-Saharan Africa which they intend to disrupt. Atlas Mara was formed in November 2013 by Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and the Mara Group, led by Robert E. Diamond Jr. and Ashish J. Thakkar, respectively. In 2016, Atlas Mara had $2.7 billion assets and $ 9 million profit in 2016.

Africa footprint: Besides UBN, they also own 100% of Finance Bank of Zambia (the 5th largest bank in Zambia, serving 2 million people), and 62.1% of Banque Populaire du Rwanda (swelled by a merger with BRD Commercial Bank). Also ABC Holdings – Botswana (owned 62.13% by the Company and 37.87% by Atlas Mara Financial) owns 100% of African Banking Corporation Zambia, 100% of ABC Holdings (Zimbabwe), 68% of Tanzania Development Finance Corporation, 97% of African Banking Corporation of Tanzania, 100% of African Banking Corporation of Mozambique SA, and 100% of African Banking Corporation of Botswana

Atlas shareholders are Guggenheim Partners Investment Management (11.22%) Wellington Management Company, LLP (9.91%) Owl Creek Asset Management, LP (7.99%), Trafigura Holding (6.23%), UBS Asset Management: O’Connor (8.10%) Janus Capital Management LLC (3.92%). Of the founders, Atlas – AFS Partners LLC has 0.5% and Mara Partners FS has 0.13% while Mr. Diamond beneficially owns 1,000,000 Founder Preferred Shares and Mr. Thakkar beneficially owns 250,000 Founder Preferred Shares.

UBN is a mid-tier bank with about 3% market share of assets and loans and deposits in Nigeria. It was established in 1917 and rescued from insolvency in 2009 along with other banks. It now has 3 million customers, 900 ATM’s and 414,000 mobile banking users and, in 2017, UBN  signed agreements with Visa and MasterCard

UBN Plans: While Atlas Mara is not going for a majority stake in UBN (though they may choose to do this), they will;
– Push UBN to be a leading Tier II bank in Nigeria
– This will be done using fintech and treasury initiatives
– They will use UBN to secure more lending
– After 2019, they will push UBN to be a Tier I bank by acquiring another Nigerian bank

Risks facing UBN: Nigeria has recently experienced significant depreciation of the Naira, inflation and economic recession. Also, UBN’s loan book is exposed to the oil and gas sector which comprises 47% of its lending. Also, there is currently a 12.9% free float of UBN’s shares, which is below the mandatory 20% free float requirement prescribed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange Listing Rules.

Fees: $1.9 million will be paid to Atlas Merchant Capital LLC, the investment fund co-founded by Bob Diamond, upon completion of the transaction.

The deal deadline is 29 August.

Extracts from the Atlas Mara prospectus.