BNP Paribas advises JSE-listed Imperial on sale of European and Latin American shipping business

May 9, 2021

Johannesburg. 22nd April 2021: Imperial Logistics Ltd (Imperial), an African focused provider of integrated market access and logistics solutions, announced the sale of its South American shipping business as this is deemed as non-core to the organisation’s ‘Gateway to Africa’ strategy. This transaction follows the sale of Imperial’s European shipping operations announced in May 2020. BNP Paribas acted as M&A Advisor on both transactions.

“We are pleased to be the bank of choice and advise Imperial on its second strategic deal after finalising the sale of their European operations last year. The South American shipping operations in question were an attractive opportunity for many potential buyers approached by BNP Paribas. These operations have a relatively low emissions profile, as the goods are transported on waterways.” says Vikas Khandelwal, Head of Territory for BNP Paribas South Africa.

“Through our global expertise and extensive network, this transaction reinforces the depth and breadth of capabilities BNP Paribas offers clients in South Africa. This is demonstrated by our ongoing partnership with Imperial and despite the challenging economic backdrop caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and difficult conditions globally,” continued Khandelwal.

The most recent transaction, completed on 16 April 2021, saw São Paulo-based Hidrovias do Brasil S.A. take control of the South American operations for a total cash consideration of USD 90 million which equates to a multiple of 9.6X FY2020 reported EBITDA. The enterprise value includes an earn-out component of up to USD 5 million, which is payable dependent on water levels over the 4-year period, commencing on 1 January 2021. The sale of Imperial’s European shipping operations in 2020 was to the value of EUR171 million.

“This second transaction emphasises Imperial’s strategic intent to become a ‘One Imperial’ business and serve as the ‘Gateway to Africa’ for its clients, principals, and customers,” said Mohammed Akoojee, Group CEO at Imperial. He added, “The sale of the South American shipping business follows the sale of the European shipping business, which was concluded on 31 July 2020. The remaining freight management and contract logistics operations within the international logistics business remain for sale and we are in the process of selling these, as announced at the group’s F2021 interim results on 23 February 2021.”

“Hidrovias do Brasil S.A. is well positioned to operate the business sustainably based on long-standing customer relationships and a highly skilled, experienced and motivated work force,” expanded Akoojee. “We believe that this is the most suitable home for the South American shipping business and its people.”

“This acquisition gives us a very important operational flexibility which will allow us to complement our navigation capacity and operate in regions where we currently do not access” said Fabio Schettino, Hidrovias do Brasil S.A. CEO.

This transaction’s proceeds will be used to optimise the financial position of Imperial, reducing its overall existing debt in the short-term and will be invested in new growth areas in line with the Group’s strategy in due course.

The regulatory SENS announcement that includes more information about the transaction is available on Imperial’s website