GIPF sells Bidvest Namibia stake

By Lazarus Amukeshe for The Namibian

The Government Institutions Pension Fund and a cluster of other Bidvest Namibia shareholders have decided to sell their stake in the company to the original owners, who are on a quest for absolute control.

The original owner, the South African incorporated Bidvest Group, announced earlier this year that it wanted to take over the Namibian entity from its current shareholder after the company produced a series of disappointing financial results and low trading volumes on the local stock exchange.

In March this year, Bidvest Group had a 66% shareholding after getting rid last year of their black empowerment partner, who had a 13,6% stake. A N$10,50 per share offer was then put for all shareholders who own the other 34% of the company.

According to an announcement by Bidvest Namibia on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) last week, this offer was accepted by 99,65% of the shareholders asked to sell.

“The 99,65% of the Bidvest Namibia shareholders other than Bidvest Group have accepted the offer, which represents 71,76 million ordinary shares (constituting 33,86% of the entire issued share capital of Bidvest Namibia),” the announcement read.

At N$10,50 per share, the Bidvest Group is expected to pay about N$754 million for the shares, and with GIPF owning a 11% stake, the fund is expected to receive about N$251 million from the sale, while other shareholders, including individuals, companies, trusts and directors will get the remaining N$503 million.

Bidvest Namibia owns Waltons Namibia, Cecil Nurse, Rennies Travel, Bidvest Steiner, Plumblink, the Manica Group, Novel Motors and Namibia bureau de change, among many other entities, and has operations in fishing, freight, transport, automobiles, financial services, food and distribution, as well as properties countrywide and beyond.

Most of these companies are 100% owned by Bidvest Namibia, and it is expected that they will not benefit from the procurement directive issued by treasury last month that government and public enterprises should procure from Namibian-owned entities.

The company will continue to operate in Namibia, but will be controlled from South Africa under the Bidvest Group. The Namibian Competition Commission and the Bank of Namibia are reported to have given the go-ahead for the sale and de-listing.

Shareholders with a stake of 0,45% or 249 000 shares, who did not accept the offer, are still being called to the table to take the N$10,50, the company said.

Bidvest Namibia had 33,98% shares listed on the local stock exchange, and has been listed since 2009. Before the listing, Bidvest Group had an 82% stake in Bidvest Namibia.

Trading on Bidvest’s shares was suspended last week, and the company will de-list from the NSX tomorrow.

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