Dubai giant wants to buy SA's Imperial in a R12.7bn cash deal

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Imperial Logistics trucks.
Imperial Logistics trucks.
Imperial

Dubai Ports World (DP World), which is owned by the Dubai government, has launched a R12.7 billion cash bid to buy out shareholders in South Africa’s  Imperial Logistics.

DP World handles an estimated 10% of the world’s global container traffic, and has more than 53 000 employees in 61 countries

Founded in 1948 as a motor dealership in Johannesburg, Imperial has been listed on the JSE since 1987, and over the years expanded into logistics and the transport of goods.

The company now has a large fleet of trucks, transporting goods for companies like Sasol, and offers other logistics services. Last year, it sold its European shipping business for more than R3.6 billion, as the company refocused its business on Africa. 

In a statement, DP World said it viewed Africa as a "long-term high growth market" and that the takeover of Imperial will provide “significant strategic value” to the group to deliver an end-to-end solution to cargo owners. It will be the Dubai company’s biggest African investment to date.

Earlier this year, Imperial Logistics announced that two BEE groups – Afropulse and Willowton – would secure a 25% shareholding in the company.

DP World said it fully supports that transaction, and that its continued implementation is a suspensive condition to the takeover.

The takeover deal still needs to be approved by South African authorities. If it succeeds, Imperial Logistics will be delisted from the JSE.

DP World’s cash offer comes to R66 per Imperial share. This is 40% higher than the company’s closing share price on Wednesday. In opening trading on Thursday, Imperial's share price jumped 33% to R62.90.

In a trading update released on Wednesday morning, the company said its headline profit for the year to end-June will be 190% higher than the previous year, as trading recovered following strict lockdowns at the start of the pandemic.

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