Mauritian firm eyes more buyouts after Naivas deal

A Naivas supermarket branch. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Mauritian conglomerate IBL Group is stepping up its regional investments after recently acquiring a 26.32 per cent stake in supermarket chain Naivas Limited for $100 million (Sh12.2 billion).

The multinational is now seeking to buy majority stakes in a solar firm and pharmaceutical distributor, both operating in East Africa.

IBL did not disclose the identities of the targeted companies, noting that final negotiations with their respective shareholders are ongoing.

The conglomerate said it is partnering with an unnamed financial investor in each of the proposed transactions.

“IBL wishes to inform its shareholders and the public in general that IBL Energy Holdings Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary) has, together with a financial co-investor, signed a letter of intent for the proposed acquisition of a majority stake in a solar solutions provider operating in East Africa,” the company said in a notice.

“The proposed acquisition is in line with IBL’s strategy to grow and expand its established business in East Africa and in green energies.”

In a separate disclosure, IBL said it is also seeking to acquire a majority stake in a leading medical and pharmaceutical distributor operating in East Africa, adding that this proposed deal will also expand its presence in the regional market and in the life business.

The two transactions shall be conditional on the fulfilment of certain conditions, including obtaining relevant regulatory and corporate approvals and satisfaction of legal requirements.

The quick succession of deal-making signals IBL’s aggressive move to expand its portfolio in the local and regional market that is among the major economic growth hubs in Africa.

IBL and CIEL Agro Limited – another Mauritian firm — are working on taking direct stakes in Kenya’s Transmara Sugar Company Limited from their subsidiary Alteo.

The two conglomerates are moving the Kenya and Tanzania sugar production operations from the umbrella of Alteo under a new investment vehicle known as Miwa Sugar Limited, which was incorporated earlier this year.

“The spinoff of Alteo’s overseas operations in Kenya and Tanzania into Miwa Sugar has been initiated. Miwa Sugar, which will be an associate of IBL Ltd, will continue to develop its regional footprint mainly in East Africa, while Alteo remains focused on the local cane activities, coupled with property development in Mauritius,” IBL said recently.

IBL in June led a consortium of international investors that bought a combined 40 per cent stake in supermarket chain Naivas through an investment vehicle called Mambo Retail for a total of $151.97 million (Sh18.6 billion).

The consortium acquired the stake from the family of Naivas founder Peter Mukuha Kago, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), German fund DEG, and private equity firms Amethis and MCB Equity Fund.

Other institutions that joined IBL to invest in Naivas included the French sovereign wealth fund Proparco.

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