Last week analysts at Société Générale put together a very comprehensive list of potential mergers involving industries across the globe. Inevitably, the long-speculated acquisition of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch Inbev (AB Inbev) made the top of the list in the beer sector.
AB Inbev is the largest beer group and has, according to Société Générale, about $20 billion (R197bn) available for acquisitions. In the past five years, AB Inbev has spent around $80bn on acquisitions that have ensured it retained its number one global position. Significant synergies mean that AB Inbev’s deals have created overall value, which may be why it is expected to do more deals in “the medium term”.
And the deal it is most likely to do is the acquisition of SABMiller, which at an estimated $110bn would involve some clever footwork as well as debt. Société Générale reckons this transaction would necessitate some disposals because of pressure from competition authorities around the globe.
However, the need for disposals in Africa would be limited as AB Inbev has little exposure on the continent.
The attractiveness of the African beer market would be a significant enticement for the deal. SABMiller is one of the few global companies that has made money out of the African story.
Société Générale’s report also includes two potential deals that could be done by SABMiller. The more likely one, with a 60 percent probability, is the acquisition of family-owned Castel for about $25bn. The two companies already have a close relationship with Africa.
SABMiller owns 20 percent of Castel’s African beer business and has a pre-emptive right on the other 80 percent. Castel owns 38 percent of SABMiller’s African business, excluding South Africa.
While the Castel rumour has been around for some time, a relatively new one is a potential acquisition of Diageo beer by SABMiller for £9billion (R142bn), which Société Générale says has only a 20 percent probability of happening. page 19
Cosatu declared itself “shocked and angry” on Monday at the delay in settling the two-week long retail motor sector strike – mainly by petrol attendants, “because of the intransigence of the employers”.
Patrick Craven, the federation’s national spokesman, noted that its National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) affiliate had consistently, “before and during the strike, attempted to reach a settlement of the workers’ reasonable claims, and has always made itself available to negotiate in good faith”. Each attempt had, however, ended in failure “because of the employers’ obstructive and delaying tactics. The latest news is that the employers are not prepared to reopen talks until Wednesday, September 25, because of the Heritage Day holiday!
“This is totally unacceptable. This dispute should be resolved without delay. Cosatu, therefore, requests the Minister of Labour (Mildred Oliphant) to convene an urgent meeting with unions and employers to resolve the dispute and demands that Business Unity SA intervene to broker a speedy solution to this damaging dispute,” he said. “If, however, no solution has been negotiated by the beginning of next week, Cosatu will consult its members in the affiliates, taxi associations and others, to organise solidarity action in support of the motor trade strikers.”
The employers represented by the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) are also using strong language. Wage talks were deadlocked, it said. RMI chief executive Jakkie Olivier argued that the workers were getting violent. RMI won a court order restraining workers from using intimidatory tactics and violence.
The industry is offering a 7.5 percent wage increase. Numsa is demanding double digits.
So the battle of the forecourts rages on
Chirping about industrial action and making yet another demand of long-suffering employers is core business for Cosatu. That is what it does.
But how excruciatingly opportunist is its latest attempt to conjure up an irrelevant comment to squeeze its bedraggled profile into the limelight?
On Monday we were treated to yet another statement headlined: “Cosatu condemns Nairobi massacre”. Oh really? Talk about cashing in on tragedy.
Anyone, absolutely anyone, with any shred of humanity can only be horrified and despair at yet another display of Africa’s self-defeating brutality and violence flavoured with extreme Islamist terrorism that was unleashed on the hapless and innocent shoppers in Nairobi’s Westgate mall over the weekend.
Was it some sad desire to piggy-back on a distant tragedy that had Cosatu bleating its platitudes: “Cosatu is appalled at this carnage. It is understood that the Somalian-based, al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group have claimed responsibility and justified it as retaliation by the intervention by Kenyan troops in an AU force operation in Somalia.
“No conceivable reason can, however, justify such a brutal murder of civilians. No cause can be served by such indiscriminate spilling of the blood of innocents. The federation sends a message of condolence to the families and friends of all those whose lives have been lost and best wishes to the injured.”
Now, if Cosatu did care about condemning “brutal murder”, it might have chosen to say something considered about the “spilling of the blood of the innocents” in its own back yard here in South Africa.
Just do the maths. While 62 people were murdered in Nairobi over three days, the crime figures released last week put the 2012 South African murder toll at 16 259, up 4 percent on the 2011 tally of 15 609.
That puts the daily average for South Africa’s ongoing “carnage” at more than 44 murders a day, day after day, year after year. How about some condolences for their families and friends of the victims right here at home.
Perhaps it is easier for Cosatu to point fingers elsewhere and be seen to shed a few crocodile tears. And chase headlines.
Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Ann Crotty, Donwald Pressly and Peter DeIonno.