DP World plans to buy South Africa’s Imperial Logistics Ltd for $890 million (R12.7 billion), in what the port operator said would be its most significant acquisition in Africa so far.
“Imperial’s business strongly complements DP World existing footprint in Africa and Europe,” the Dubai-based company said, adding that the deal demonstrates long-term confidence in the South African economy and the wider regional market despite recent challenges.
The privately-held company offered R66 ($4.60) per share, a 40% premium to Imperial’s last close. The shares surged as much as 36% on Thursday, trading just below the offer price. Even with the rally, the stock still trades below a January 2018 high.
DP World is one of the world’s largest operators of marine ports and inland cargo terminals, stretching from gateways in London and Antwerp to hubs in Africa, Russia, India and the Americas.
It has been on an acquisition spree as it attempts to become a more diversified, integrated logistics company. The company bought supply chain solutions provider Syncreon Holdings Ltd. last week for an enterprise value of $1.2 billion.
DP World also continues to look for ways to cut debt and is considering offering international investors a chance to buy into the Jebel Ali Free Zone, a prized asset that helped transform Dubai into a hub of global trade, people familiar with the matter have said.
Imperial, meanwhile, started as a small motor dealership in 1940s Johannesburg and now employs more than 25,000 people around the world. Under chief executive officer Mohammed Akoojee, the firm has been looking to dispose of non-core assets and position itself as the gateway to Africa for transporting goods.
The company has also been awarded contracts by South Africa to import an unspecified quantity of coronavirus vaccine doses as the country battles one of the worst outbreaks on the continent.
The deal is expected to close by the first quarter of 2022.