Alex Forbes sells off Swiss unit ahead of imminent JSE listing

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Bloomberg

Alexander Forbes had sold its 60 percent stake in the Swiss unit of Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) to management for an undisclosed sum at the end of last year, Africa’s largest independent retirement fund administrator said this week.

Alex Forbes bought the Swiss business for about $22 million (R238m at yesterday’s rate) in 2004 and merged it with UK-based actuarial adviser LCP, which it had acquired two years earlier. Alex Forbes would consider offers for the remaining LCP operations in England, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands as it prepared for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of this year, chief executive Edward Kieswetter said.

“We spoke to the managers and said the exit is coming and if they think there’s an opportunity to buy the stake and it makes sense to us, we’ll consider an offer,” Kieswetter said on Monday. No more offers had been received.

Alex Forbes, acquired in an R8.2 billion buyout led by Actis in 2007, has been selling assets before the IPO in Johannesburg. Kieswetter, who became chief executive in 2010, has overseen the sale of three UK operations and South African insurance unit Guardrisk, which was sold to MMI Holdings in November for R1.6bn.

Alex Forbes hired Deutsche Bank and Rand Merchant Bank last year to advise on its planned IPO.

“During the last quarter we began to engage with potential investors from institutions to strategic investors,” Kieswetter said, adding that the company would not rule out a trade buyer.

Since Alex Forbes first said in June that it might return to the stock exchange, its preference shares have climbed 31 percent, giving the group a total value of more than R17bn. They rose 0.6 percent to R18.50 yesterday.


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