Investors launch fresh attempt to exit South African bottle maker Consol, say sources
Share this article:
A consortium led by South African investment company Brait has revived plans to exit glass bottle maker Consol Glass, two sources said, possibly via an initial public offering (IPO) three years after a previous failed attempt.
The private equity investors took Consol, which describes itself as sub-Saharan Africa's largest glass manufacturer, private in 2007 for R6.1 billion, worth around $1bn (R14.6bn) at the time. They pulled the planned 2018 listing in Johannesburg, citing challenging market conditions.
Brait's interest in the company is held via its Brait Fund IV, which has a 29.7 percent stake in Consol.
In 2018, the consortium, which also includes the private equity arm of insurer Old Mutual and Sanlam, wanted to sell roughly a third of Consol to raise R3bn, or around $250 million at the time after a depreciation in the value of the rand. That would have valued the entire company at around R10bn.
They have appointed banks to advise them in their latest attempt at an exit, two sources, one directly involved in the discussions and another familiar with the matter, said.
The options on the table include a second shot at an IPO, the source directly involved said, but declined to give further details.
Consol, which counts blue-chip companies including brewing giants Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken among its clients, said its policy was not to comment on speculation but that it would advise all stakeholders accordingly in the event that any future IPO or change of ownership was concluded.
"We do not speculate or provide comment on rumours pertaining to the asset owned or managed by Brait," Brait said.
Britain's Barclays is one of the banks that is working with the consortium, both sources said. The second source familiar with the talks said the investment banking arm of local lender FirstRand, RMB, had also been appointed.
Barclays and RMB declined to comment. Old Mutual and Sanlam did not immediately provide a comment.
Private equity investors in the region are using the emergence of South African companies from the most severe impacts of Covid-19 as an opportunity to review their portfolios.
Three investment bankers said a series of exit attempts were on the horizon, especially in the industrials sector as South Africa slowly caught up with a trend under way in the West.