South Africa: Omnia to Take the Money and Run


It is estimated that billions have been squandered in the ill-advised offshore adventures that South African executives have pursued over the years. But every now and again they get it right and the rewards are high. Omnia is a case in point.

If shareholders approve, JSE-listed chemicals company Omnia will sell its Oro Agri business to private equity-owned Rovensa, which supplies sustainable farming solutions to farmers around the world.

Headquartered in Europe, a subsidiary of Rovensa, European Crops Products, will pay Omnia $146.9-million (about R2.5-billion) for the privilege.

This follows a flurry of interest in South African assets. Recent announcements include the acquisition of chunky 6.5% of pay-TV company MultiChoice by French media group Canal+, which has fuelled speculation about its intentions for MultiChoice.

Canal+ has been eyeing the company since about 2017 when its offer to acquire all or part of the Naspers subsidiary was reportedly rejected.

In addition, a JSE industrial bellwether, Afrox, is to be delisted after Linde plc, Afrox's German parent, made an offer to acquire the 49% of the company that it does not own.

While there has been considerable commentary about the value that the JSE's small and mid-cap sector is offering,...

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