WAIH lifts investments to R1-billion
THE acquisition of a 51% stake in Zenex Oil by Worldwide Africa Investment Holdings (WAIH) has increased the group's portfolio of investments, listed and unlisted, to more than R1-billion in four years.
The R400-million deal gives WAIH control of a group with 150 service stations and a turnover of more than R1.6-billion last year. The Zenex deal complements its initial acquisition of a 51% stake in Afric Oil, the joint venture in which Caltex has a 10% interest, Transnet's subsidiary Bongani Motor Holdings 29%, and FirstCorp 10%.
Afric Oil has 52 retail stations. At the time of the deal the plan was to increase these to 100, meaning WAIH would have control of an oil company with more than 240 stations.
The group is reluctant to talk about itself or disclose how much institutional investors (Sanlam, Nedbank and Old Mutual) paid for a 40% stake in WAIH. Speculation a few months ago was that Nedbank paid R20-million for a 20% stake and Sanlam and Old Mutual each paid R10-million for their 10% interests. If this is true, it would value WAIH at about R100-million. Sego Investments, the founding black private investor group, holds 60% of WAIH.
Early this year WAIH went through a bitter boardroom battle in which chairman Wiseman Nkhuhlu was replaced by Louis Skweyiya.
So far its investments have been nurtured in the oil, telecommunications, industrial holdings and financial services sectors. It has expressed interest in buying Anglo's 40% stake in Southern Life although Anglo has said that it has no intention of selling. The jewel in its investment portfolio must be its 26% interest in telecommunications group Plessey, jointly controlled with Sankorp.
Plessey, with a market capitalisation exceeding R1.4-billion, is expected to receive significant orders from Lucent Technologies, which this week won part of Telkom's R2-billion telephone contract.
In terms of WAIH's acquisition of Plessey, the two groups have formed Worldwide African Construction (WAC).
The venture allows WAC the opportunity to participate in the installation of the telecommunications infrastructure, and to establish joint ventures with black contractors in the areas where installations are to take place.
WAIH's other significant investment is a 3.5% interest in Johnnic, valuing its stake at about R343-million. Its stake is via a 10% interest in the National Empowerment Consortium, which recently acquired 35% of Johnnic for R2.5-billion from Anglo American.
WAIH's other investments include 2% in Norwich Holdings, 40% in Infinity Asset Management (Genbel Securities holds 30%), 20% in Southern Chartering, a privately owned bulk shipping company, and 2.5% in Bidvest. Based on Bidvest's market capitalisation of R8-billion (and taking into account the effects of its recent acquisition of Waltons), WAIH's investment in Bidvest translates into about R200-million. WAIH also has a 51% interest in Carlton Add Ventures, a consortium that has applied to develop a R2-billion hotel and casino development as part of the CBD revitalisation.
WAIH will seek a listing on the JSE in due course.