Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in sub-Saharan Africa in Q1 of 2018 at $4.7 billion were 63% down on a year earlier, according to investment banking analysis for sub-Saharan Africa by Thomson Reuters, but there were $2.7bn in equity follow-on issues and $13bn in debt issues. Rand Merchant Bank topped the ranking of investment banking earnings, gaining $10.3 million, 9.3% of the total $117.6m earned during the quarter.
Completed M&A generated 20% and equity capital markets 37% of the total fee pool. Thomson Reuters says equity and related issuance was at its highest since 2007.
Fees from completed M&A totaled $23.4m, a 57% decrease year-on-year, while equity capital markets underwriting reached $43.1m, the best start since 2007. Domestic and inter-SSA M&A totaled $483m, down 81% year-on-year and the lowest annual start since 2006. Inbound M&A is down 73%, driven by the lowest number of deals since 2004, while outbound M&A is on a six-year high, up 91% to $1.6bn. Most (93%) of the outbound M&A was by South African companies, while acquisitions by companies headquartered in Mauritius accounted for 6% and in Seychelles for 1% respectively. Citi topped the financial advisor table for Q1 2018 for announced M&A with “any sub-Saharan Africa involvement” with 7% market share.
The biggest deal of Q1, according to Thomson Reuters, was Milost Global Inc’s US$1.1bn leveraged buyout transaction to acquire the entire share capital of Primewaterview Holdings Nigeria through its African subsidiary Isilo Capital Partners, announced on 10 January.
All the equity capital markets activity in the region was follow-on offerings, with 14 transactions. It is the first time there were no primary equity issues since 2012. The biggest was a follow-on offering by PSG Group, followed by offers from Sanlam and Lafarge Africa. Standard Bank Group tops the SSA equity capital markets league table in Q1 2018 with a 26% share of the market, followed by Investec at 12% and PSG Capital Ltd at 11%.
Sneha Shah, Managing Director for Africa at Thomson Reuters, said: “The most active Sub-Saharan Africa equity capital markets sectors for Q1 2018 were financials followed by materials, real estate, industrials, retail, and consumer staples.”
The most active debt issuer nation was Côte d’Ivoire with US$4.6bn in bond proceeds, 36% of market activity, followed by Nigeria and Senegal. Citi took the top spot in the SSA bond ranking for Q1 2018 with 24% market share. Syndicated lending fees declined, falling to $12.7m down 66% from Q1 2017. ING ranked first for syndicated loans.
Fees from underwriting in debt capital markets were $38.4m, the top value since Thomson Reuters started keeping these records in 2000, and up from $19.4m during Q1 2017.