Muscat, Oman (Picture for illustrative purposes)
Raysut Cement Co. expressed an interest in acquiring ARM Cement Ltd. of Kenya as the Oman-based company expands in Africa.
An acquisition would be valued at more than $100 million, the Salalah-based company said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. It’s the second company to express an interest after Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s biggest producer. The Nigerian firm signaled an intention to bid last month, people familiar with the matter said.
A price tag of more than $100 million could translate to about 10 shillings a share, Harrison Gitau, senior analyst at Nairobi-based Apex Capital, said by phone. That’s double the share price before trading was suspended by the Nairobi Securities Exchange in August.
ARM Cement’s administrators are seeking funds to reduce the company’s debts of $140 million, by selling some of its subsidiaries and strategic investments. The company’s lenders, which include Africa Finance Corp. and Standard Bank Group Ltd.’s Stanbic Bank Kenya Ltd., may be forced to take haircuts, according to a plan approved by its creditors Oct. 23. ARM is part-owned by London-based CDC Group Plc.
Raysut’s African plans also include the potential construction of a 1 million tons per year cement plant in Somalia, and the firm is in “advanced discussions to acquire various cement producers in Uganda and Djibouti,” it said. The company is also building grinding plants in Somalia and semi-autonomous Somaliland, and is in unspecified negotiations with Kampala Cement Co.
The initial offer for ARM will probably get rejected by CDC, who bought at 40 shillings, Gitau said. “CDC are unlikely to put in more money in the company. The question is what is the considerable hit they are willing to take,” he said.
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