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Imperial takes African logistics leap with acquisition of Nigeria’s MDS
Imperial takes African logistics leap with acquisition of Nigeria’s MDS

Imperial takes African logistics leap with acquisition of Nigeria’s MDS


IOL Business - May 14th 2013, 08:18

Imperial Holdings has gained a foothold in Nigeria’s fast-growing logistics market with the acquisition of a 49 percent stake in leading Nigerian provider MDS for $26 million (R237m) in cash. 

The purchase will give the JSE-listed transport and mobility group exposure to supply chains in Nigeria’s dynamic fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries.

MDS is a wholly owned subsidiary of UAC of Nigeria, a company that provides warehousing and distribution solutions through a network of 50 distribution centres by linking companies with their customers in more than 600 cities and villages across Nigeria.

All conditions precedent have been fulfilled and the transaction is unconditional.

Marius Swanepoel, the chief executive of Imperial Logistics, said yesterday that the acquisition strengthened the group’s footprint on the continent and was consistent with its strategy of focusing on consumer opportunities and following its customer base.

He said MDS had a quality customer base with a strong new business pipeline. Through the transaction, Imperial had secured a specialist management team that strengthened and complemented the group’s existing skills set, he added.

The transaction follows Imperial’s acquisition in January of Imperial Health Sciences, formerly RTT Health Sciences, one of Africa’s leading pharmaceutical and health-care supply chain service providers.

Imperial Health Sciences specialises in multichannel solutions for delivering essential medicines and consumer health products in South Africa and to Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

Swanepoel said the acquisitions of MDS and RTT Health Sciences offered exceptional growth prospects because they strengthened Imperial’s current exposure to these high growth economies.

Larry Ettah, UAC’s chief executive, said it believed this transaction created an outstanding opportunity to drive growth in MDS and, therefore, it looked forward to working with Imperial Logistics as its strategic partner to engage the underserved and fast-growing logistics market in Nigeria.

“The combination of MDS’s vital local experience and the value adding international logistics expertise of Imperial Logistics will lead to efficiencies and raise benchmarks in Nigeria for the benefit of all stakeholders,” he said.

Peter Matlare, the chief executive of Tiger Brands, which owns 49 percent of UAC Foods, said Imperial was a trusted logistics partner and it was wonderful that it was entering Nigeria in this way because it meant Tiger Brands could rely on its logistics support.

Imperial shares rose 1.49 percent to R226 yesterday.  

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