Carlyle Group Pulls Out Of Barclays Bid, Buys Majority Stake In South African Clothing Supplier

Carlyle Group Pulls Out Of Barclays Bid, Buys Majority Stake In South African Clothing Supplier

U.S-based private equity company Carlyle Group says it will buy a majority stake in South African promotional products and clothing supplier Amrod with plans to expand the business in other markets, according to a prepared statement.

Carlyle said it will fund the investment through its Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund, with the three Amrod founders reinvesting alongside it. The transaction is expected to close in 2016 but Carlyle gave no further financial details.

Carlyle was expected to lodge a joint bid for Barclays Africa with former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, but has pulled out of a three-member consortium, Bloomberg reported, according to Business Day Live.

Diamond told Bloomberg Radio on Wednesday that Carlyle had pulled out of the consortium, partly over the central bank’s reluctance to support an offer from a private equity firm, according to Carlyle.

The consortium now consists of Diamond’s Atlas Merchant Capital and Ugandan entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar’s Mara Group. They plan to bid for a 50.1 percent stake in Barclays Africa that remains after the bank’s U.K. parent sold some of its shares to institutional investors in May as part of a divestment of its 62.3 percent stake, Bloomberg reported.

The Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund has $698 million of committed capital, with almost $300 million invested in logistics, agribusiness, mining, retail and financial services. Markets include Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa. The fund makes buyout and growth capital investments in private and public companies. It has offices in Johannesburg and Lagos.

Founded in 2000, Amrod has grown to become one of the largest promotional products suppliers in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Carlyle. Its products include promotional gifts and clothing with the large majority of products branded in the company’s in-house facility.

Amrod has a new warehouse, production facility and showroom due to open in January, said Braam Verster, a director of the Carlyle sub-Saharan Africa Fund. “Through capital investment and acquisitions, we think the company has terrific growth potential,” he said.

Reports last week said talks between Carlyle and Atlas Merchant Capital hit a brick wall, with Carlyle executives concerned that Barclays might be reluctant to sell its stake in Barclays Africa to the consortium, according to Bloomberg:

Reserve Bank deputy governor Kuben Naidoo told reporters in May the central bank would not be comfortable with “a private equity play for any of the banks,” as banks needed long-term commitments from well-heeled shareholders.

Diamond has tried to counter this, saying that the consortium had secured funding from long-term investors.

Bids from other consortiums including one led by South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation and Dubai-based Abraaj Group haven’t materialized.

The Barclays Africa stake that is for sale is valued at about $4.3 billion, according to Independent Online.

South Africa’s PIC manages pensions for government employees and is Africa’s largest money manager with about $13.5 billion in assets. In May it said it’s forming a group of black investors to ensure Barclays Africa remains in local hands.

The South African Reserve Bank said it wants owners of the country’s banks to be stable, have deep pockets and long-term plans. In May it said it would look negatively on a private-equity bid, IOL reported.