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Development Bank sheds tentative light on secret Ohorongo majority sale

Development Bank sheds tentative light on secret Ohorongo majority sale

In a carefully worded statement released on Thursday, the Development Bank of Namibia stated that it was not informed of the deal to sell Schwenk Namibia to an international investment group, until a day before the sale agreement was signed. That day was a Sunday.

Schwenk Namibia, a subsidiary of German industrial giant, Schwenk Zement International GmbH, is the holding link between the wholly owned parent and the Namibian operational entity, Ohorongo Cement Pty Ltd. It holds 69.83% of the equity. There are three minority Ohorongo shareholders, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa with 14.27%, the Development Bank of Namibia with 11.73% and the Development Bank of Southern Africa with 4.17%.

The sales purchase agreement between Schwenk Zement International and International Cement Group, lists the transaction at a consideration of US$104.4 million, approximately N$1.5 billion. This indicates that the buyers valued one Schwenk Namibia share equal to US$1.5 million. It further implies that the Development Bank of Namibia’s shareholding is worth around US$17.6 million or N$255.5 million at the exchange rate at the time of signing the purchase agreement.

“The Development Bank of Namibia and its shareholder the Government of the Republic of Namibia were not aware of Schwenk International’s intention to sell. The minority owners and shareholders of Ohorongo were only formally informed about the transaction at its last Board Meeting held in Windhoek recently,” the Development Bank of Namibia stated.

According to the bank, the purchaser appears to be a predominantly Chinese-owned company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, trading as International Cement Group.

The bank pointed out that the transaction does not affect their ownership in Ohorongo Cement, neither is there a dilution of shareholding. What is not explained is the obvious obsolescence of Schwenk Namibia as a holding company unless it has other commercial interests of which the Development Bank is not aware.

Signalling the uncertainty about the way forward and the bank’s continued position as a shareholder, it said these issues will only be clarified after consultation with the government.


 

About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Brief CV of Daniel Steinmann. Born 24 February 1961, Johannesburg. Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA, BA(hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees are in Philosophy and Divinity. Editor of the Namibia Economist since 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 29 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at www.economist.com.na. It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. Daniel Steinmann is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional jourlists. He regularly helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. He is frequently consulted by NGOs and international analysts on local economic trends and developments. Send comments to daniel@economist.com.na

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.