5 Top African Investment Deals Of 2013

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Mergers, acquisitions and deals involving sub-Saharan African companies jumped in value by 80 percent in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the previous year, according to a report in VenturesAfrica.

Deals amounting to $23.4 billion in the first three quarters are the result of attractive African investment destinations for foreign companies in all economic sectors, according to a Thomson Reuters’ sub-Saharan Africa investment banking analysis.

Among the top African investment deals of 2013 were those involving PetroChina, ENI, Glencore, Xstrata, Vivendi, Etisalat, Absa, Barclays, Vodacom and Vodacom Tanzania.

PetroChina/ENI

PetroChina, which is  is controlled by China National Petroleum Corp., bought a stake in ENI East Africa for $4.2 billion in March.

Paolo Scaroni, CEO of ENI and Zhou Jiping, CEO of Petrochina, signed the agreement in
Beijing.

The two parties agreed that ENI will sell 28. 57 percent of its East African shares to PetroChina.

ENI East Africa owns 70 percent interest in Area 4, in Mozambique.

With this transaction, PetroChina acquired a 20 percent stake in Area 4, while Eni remained the 50 percent owner.

Glencore/Xstrata

In May, global trading house Glencore finalized a multi-billion dollar merger with mining firm Xstrata.

The New York Times described this deal as one of the biggest of its kind in recent years.

Shortly after the sale was final, the merged group — Glencore Xstrata — listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s main board in November.

The company said the listing deepened its relationship with South Africa and by extension Africa.

“It highlights our confidence in Africa as a place to invest. We welcome our new stakeholders and look forward to building long-term mutually beneficial relationships with them,” said CEO Ivan Glasenberg.

Vivendi/Etisalat/Maroc Telecom

In November, France-based conglomerate Vivendi agreed to sell its 53-percent stake in Morocco’s biggest telecoms firm, Maroc Telecom. The stake was sold to the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat for $5.7 billion.

This deal gave Etisalat a market-leading operator status in Morocco, VenturesAfrica reports. The transaction could be concluded by early 2014.

Absa/Barclays

South African lender Absa said it got the go-ahead from African regulators to buy Barclays’
African assets for more than $1.6 billion.

Absa, South Africa’s biggest retail bank, bought Barclays’ banking operations in Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zambia.

It also bought South Africa-based Barclays’ Africa regional office. These businesses merged with Absa’s Africa operations.

The deal left out Barclays’ Zimbabwe and Egypt businesses.

“We have created one of the leading banking groups in Africa. Our goal is to assist in accelerating Africa’s true global potential and to become the go-to bank on the continent,” said Absa CEO Mario Ramos.

The deal became effective at the end of July, with Barclays’ stake in Absa growing from 55.5 percent to 62.3 percent. The new business is now called the Barclays Africa Group and it is listed on the JSE.

Vodacom/Vodacom Tanzania

JSE-listed mobile phone operator Vodacom bought an additional 17. 2 percent stake in Vodacom Tanzania for $236.5 million.

Vodacom Tanzania is the East African country’s leading mobile phone business with 10 million mobile clients.

This acquisition increased Vodacom’s total economic interest in Vodacom Tanzania from 65 percent to 82.2 percent, giving it total exposure to Tanzania, a high growth market in the region.

The deal will allow Vodacom to spotlight one of its most important investments in sub-Saharan Africa, VenturesAfrica reports.

Vodacom Tanzania has been Vodacom’s most prosperous investment outside Vodacom’s home base of South Africa with 10 million mobile customers.