An Ir­ish twist to the PPC saga

Cape Times - - BUSINESS REPORT -

CRH IS AMONG com­pa­nies con­sid­er­ing a coun­ter­bid for PPC that could trump an of­fer by Canada’s Fair­fax Fi­nan­cial Hold­ings, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter, adding a po­ten­tial new twist to the bat­tle for South Africa’s largest ce­ment maker. The Ir­ish build­ing­ma­te­ri­als sup­plier has held early de­lib­er­a­tions about pur­su­ing an ac­qui­si­tion of the Jo­han­nes­burg- based com­pany, said the peo­ple, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied as the plans aren’t public. A fi­nal de­ci­sion hasn’t been made and the com­pany may de­cide against an of­fer in favour of US ac­qui­si­tions, the peo­ple said. PPC has a mar­ket value of R11 bil­lion. In com­mon with most South African deals, is­sues yet to be set­tled in­clude how the Dublin-based com­pany would ad­dress the re­quire­ment of a black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment deal, a way to com­ply with gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives to re­dis­tribute wealth to those dis­crim­i­nated against dur­ing apartheid, one of the peo­ple said. The takeover would also likely re­quire sup­port from state-owned Public In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, Africa’s big­gest money man­ager and a top share­holder in PPC. Spokes­peo­ple for CRH and PPC de­clined to com­ment. PPC’s fu­ture as an in­de­pen­dent com­pany has been clouded for months after talks about a tieup with ri­val AfriSam Group failed and Toronto-based in­surer Fair­fax made a par­tial of­fer for R2bn of PPC stock at R5.75 a share.

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