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Top 10 deals between the GCC and Sub-Saharan Africa, Q1 2014

By John Bambridge on 29.04.2014.

Gulf Africa Review covered a wide variety of high-profile deals between parties from countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and those in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first quarter of 2014.    Below are the top ten power plays between the two regions, by value:

1.       $450m : Dubai buys 46% stake in South Africa hotel group Kerzner

The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) purchased a 46% stake in Kerzner International Holdings, the operator of the Atlantis hotel in Dubai. Though the sum involved has not been officially confirmed, the value of the deal based on Kerzner's assets is estimated to be in the region of $450m.

Sol Kerzner, who founded the company in 1994 but is now stepping down, said: “I am exceptionally proud of all that has been accomplished at Kerzner International. This is a significant milestone in my life after a long and happy career in the tourism industry and I wish the company well.”

2.       $265m : Atlas Mara Co-Nvest acquires Botswana’s ABC bank group

Atlas Mara Co-Nvest, a joint venture between Bob Diamond's New York-based Atlas Merchant Capital and the Dubai-based Mara Group, made an acquisition deal worth $265m in cash and shares for the Sub-Saharan banking group ABC Holdings and ADC African Development Corporation.

Mara Group founder Ashish Thakkar said: “With the combination of BancABC's regional expertise, ADC's initial platform and Atlas Mara's global experience, we can build a truly pan-African financial institution to address needs across the continent for a meaningful and lasting positive impact.”

3.       $135m : Qatar funds five-year programme of Sudanese archaeology

The Qatari government donated $135m to Sudan to fund archaeological efforts in the country. The finance will support 29 projects in Sudan over the next five years to investigate sites, build and furnish museums, rehabilitate existing relics and fund the study of the Meroitic language.

“This is the biggest amount of money for Sudanese antiquities in their entire history,” the head of museums, Abdurrahman Ali, told reporters, adding that the project will lay the foundation for the development and pursuance of ‘archaeological tourism’ in the country.

4.       $86.3m : Al Futtaim Group acquires Kenyan auto-interest CMC Holding

Al Futtaim Group persuaded 91.6% of shareholders in Kenya’s CMC Holdings to accept its $86.3m offer for the group, gaining control over a 33% stake in Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers with its installed annual manufacturing capacity of 6,600 vehicles, and subsidiaries in both Uganda and Tanzania.

Marwan Shehadeh, group director for corporate development at Al-Futtaim Group, previously noted: “We are continuing our expansion drive across Africa and we hope that CMC will be the jewel in the crown of our inroads into this great continent.”

5.       $75m : South African e-firm buys 36% stake in UAE online retailer Souq.com

Naspers, Africa’s largest media company, has invested $75m in Souq.com, a UAE-based online retailer and subsidiary of Al Jabbar Internet Group that is presently the largest e-commerce portal in MENA, with 23 million visits per month and more than 6.2 million registered users.

Souq.com CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar, who founded the company in 2005, noted: “Our traffic share from other markets is growing faster [than in Dubai], and we have more customers in Saudi Arabia than in Dubai. Currently, the site has a 65% repeat customer rate.”

6.       $50m : Topaz Marine wins twin contract for offshore supply in West Africa

Dubai-based Topaz Energy and Marine won two contracts worth $50m to supply Platform Supply Vessels for offshore operations in West Africa. The UAE shipbuilder boasts a total fleet of 93 vessels, and these latest contract bring the company’s total contract backlog up to a value of $1.2bn.

René Kofod-Olsen, Topaz CEO, remarked: “We believe we have the right fleet and the management expertise to create a sustainable long-term business in West Africa, which is forecast to see above market growth in industry activity and OSV demand, which we very much hope to capitalize upon.”

7.       $48m : Kuwaiti finances laboratory project for Sudan’s mineral sector

Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development signed a $48m with the Republic of Sudan to partially finance a series of 12 integrated laboratories to assess mineral reserves in different parts of the African country. The loan will run for 20 years, with a four-year grace period.

Amid mutual comments on the cooperation between Sudan and KFAED, Sudanese finance minister Bader-Aldeen Mahmoud Abass, said: “This loan will help Sudan to boost the capacity of its mining sector, increase its production and make the best use of its mineral resources.”

8.       $37m : Sidra Capital handles significant Islamic transactions in West Africa

Saudi’s Sidra Capital and its Geneva-based partner INOKS Capital have concluded two Shariah-compliant convertible investment transactions with a value in excess of $37.3m in the agriculture and real estate sectors of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana on behalf of GCC investors.

Hani Baothman, CEO of Sidra Capital, commented: “GCC investors have many preconceived negative ideas about investing in Africa, and while we have seen many Western and Asian investors flocking the region, we have not been true to our trading roots.”

9.       $18m : MULK Holdings wins Abu Dhabi funding for Sierra Leone solar project

Mulk Oasis Gulf Investment, a Mulk Holdings subsidiary, secured the EPC contract for an $18 million ‘Solar Park’ in Freetown, Sierra Leone, funded by the International Renewable Energy Agency and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (IRENA-ADFD) in a joint facility.

Commenting on the success, Mulk founder and chairman Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, noted: “This venture is a big step towards helping us strengthen our base further in the African market and a great opportunity to implement our patented solar technology in the PV space.”

10.   $14.4m :  Abu Dhabi funds for northeast highway and power project in Senegal

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) committed to renewed investment in Senegal, specifically for the Ndioum-Ourossogui highway and a 15MW power station, following the attendance of Senegalese President Macky Sall at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, ADFD director general, stated: “This agreement reflects our keeness in supporting the infrastructure sector in Senegal as the mainstay of economic and social development, and the strong foundation for the growth of various sectors.”