Business News Roundup: September 13
Hellman & Friedman Raises Bid for Zooplus from 3 Billion Euros to 3.29 Euros
Zooplus AG, one of Europe’s largest online pet supplies’ retailers, announced that Hellman & Friedman has raised its takeover offer for the group to 3.29 billion euros (US$3.89 billion) from an initial offer of 3 billion euros. The U.S. private equity firm pitched the new offer at 460 euros per Zooplus share, representing a premium of 5.9% to the German company’s closing price on Friday.
The pet shop chain’s board said last month it had accepted a 390 euro per share offer from Hellman & Friedman, at the time a 40% premium to its last closing price. The company, which has benefited from rising online demand for pet supplies during the pandemic, said in a statement on Sunday that its management and supervisory boards welcomed the increased offer and intended to recommend it to shareholders.
Sydney Airport Holdings Granted A Consortium of Infrastructure Investors Access to Due Diligence
A sale of Australia’s biggest airport moved closer as an infrastructure investor group won permission to conduct due diligence on Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd, after sweetening its takeover offer to A$23.6 billion (US$17.4 billion). The move sent the airport’s shares up 5%, with analysts saying a rival bid appeared unlikely given the scale of the funding needed and foreign ownership rules that mean the airport must remain 51% Australian owned.
A successful takeover would be among the largest buyouts ever of an Australian firm and underline a year of stellar deal activity, that has already seen a mega US$29 billion buyout of Afterpay by Square. The improved offer of A$8.75 a share – an increase of 3.6% – follows prior proposals from the consortium pitched at A$8.45 and A$8.25, both of which were rejected by the airport operator’s board as inadequate.
Investment Firm, P10, Planning a Listing in New York
P10 Holdings Inc is planning a listing in New York, the latest alternative asset manager to do so amid a rally in the stocks of such investment firms, three sources said. P10 shares already trade on an over-the-counter trading platform of OTC Markets Group Inc, assigning it a market value of about US$740 million. P10 wants to list on the New York Stock Exchange to boost its profile and allow major funds to invest in it, the sources said.
P10 could announce the listing plans later this month, according to the sources. It is seeking to raise capital in the listing, which is expected to take place in October, the sources said. It will aim for a valuation of more than US$1 billion, the sources added.
The Dallas-based firm focuses on lower-middle market deals in areas such as private equity, venture capital and private credit, and operates four divisions that include RCP Advisors and TrueBridge Capital Partners. It held US$14.2 billion of fee-paying assets under management as of June 30, according to its latest financial statement.
Carlyle Revives Plans to Sell Lingerie Firm, Hunkemoller, in a Deal that could Top 1 Billion Euros
U.S. private equity firm Carlyle is reviving plans to sell Netherlands-based lingerie chain Hunkemoller that were delayed by the pandemic, two sources told Reuters, in a deal that could top 1 billion euros (US$1.2 billion). Hunkemoller, which runs 850 stores around Europe, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 40.6 million euros in the year ended Jan. 31, compared with 75.5 million euros a year earlier, before the pandemic struck. Sales fell 14% to 459 million euros. Sales and EBITDA are expected to rebound strongly this financial year, a source said, as the chain has increasingly moved to a hybrid model, with online sales now making up more than a quarter of the total. The company is targeting EBITDA of 85-90 million euros this fiscal year and more than 100 million euros in 2022-2023.
JPMorgan has been picked to lead the sales process. At a valuation of 11-13 times EBITDA, the company’s value is estimated around 1 billion euros. JPMorgan is expected to launch the sales process this month, with non-binding bids due in October, sources said.
Louis Dreyfus Completed Sale of 45% Indirect Stake to Abu Dhabi Holding Firm, ADQ
Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) announced that it had completed the sale of a 45% indirect stake to Abu Dhabi holding firm ADQ, marking the arrival of the first non-family shareholder in the agricultural commodity group’s 170-year history. The overall value of the deal was not disclosed but LDC said in a statement that a portion of the proceeds had been invested in the full repayment of a US$1.051 billion loan that LDC had granted to its parent company.
That ended a long hunt for an investor by controlling shareholder and chairwoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who had built up debt buying out other family members during a period of lean profits for the commodity merchant. The financial pressure on LDC in recent years was also linked to Brazilian sugar firm Biosev, previously owned by LDC’s parent. The US$1 billion loan from LDC to its parent, originally due in 2023, was part of a bailout for Biosev.
German Measuring Technology Group, Schenck Process, Put Up for Sale by Blackstone
German measuring technology group Schenck Process is being put up for sale by its private equity owner in a potential deal worth more than 1.4 billion euros (US$1.7 billion), three sources said. Schenck Process makes factory gear to weigh, filter or dose substances, catering to industries such as mining, construction, chemicals and food processing. It is being marketed off full year core earnings of about 120 million euros and could be valued at more than 12 times that in a potential deal, the sources said. In the first half of 2021, Schenck Process saw adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 43 million euros on sales of 311 million euros.
Swiss Exchange SIX Received Regulatory Approval for Digital Asset Bourse
Swiss stock exchange SIX has received regulatory approval from the financial market supervisor for its new SDX bourse, it said, paving the way for it to go live with a marketplace for digital assets. The green light from FINMA also grants SIX approval to operate a central securities depository for digital assets, the exchange said. The exchange said that it sees the platform creating a global exchange network for digital assets as the customer base for such assets expands to include banks, issuers, insurance firms and institutional investors.
China Launched Wealth Management Connect, Linking Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau
China kicked off a long-awaited scheme, called Wealth Management Connect, that links its southern province of Guangdong with Hong Kong and Macau, as Beijing moves to pull the two territories closer. The cross-boundary scheme will initially bring combined fund flows of 300 billion yuan (US$46.53 billion) in the three areas together known as the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said. It will also promote cross-border use of the Chinese currency, strengthening Hong Kong’s role as the global hub for offshore yuan, HKMA chief executive, Eddie Yue said.
Twenty Hong Kong banks have expressed interest in participating, said HKMA’s deputy chief executive Edmond Lau. Sebastian Paredes, chief executive of DBS Hong Kong, expects the region to provide a quarter of the customers in the bank’s Hong Kong Treasures Wealth programme over the next three years.
Japan Airlines to Raise US$2.73 Billion via Hybrid Loans and Subordinated Bonds
Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) announced that it had finalised plans to issue 300 billion yen (US$2.73 billion) of hybrid loans and subordinated bonds to give it a safety net and position it for a post-coronavirus business environment. It will raise 200 billion yen from hybrid loans and 100 billion from subordinated bonds, the airline said in a statement to the stock exchange. The airline last month forecast its cash burn rate to fall to around 5 billion yen a month in the second quarter ending Sept. 30 from 10 billion to 15 billion yen a month in the first quarter.
The airline said the proceeds from the raising would be used to introduce Airbus SE A350-1000s as its new flagship aircraft, helping it to reduce carbon emissions on international flights. JAL will also renew its revenue management system for domestic routes and repay other debt with the raising’s proceeds, it added.
Medi Lifestyle Launches Genetic Screening Service in Malaysia and Singapore
Medi Lifestyle Limited announced that the Company’s indirect wholly owned subsidiary, HealthPro Marketing Sdn Bhd (“HPM”) has launched a genetic screening service for Malaysia and Singapore markets under the brand name, “Qodify”. Genetic screening services involve the analysis of a person’s deoxyribonucleic acid (“DNA”) to screen for risks of various diseases and health traits. A saliva sample is placed in a collection kit and sent to HPM’s partner genomics laboratory to screen for genetic markers in a person’s DNA. The laboratory is owned and operated by Malaysia Genomics Resources Berhad (“MGRC”), a company listed on Bursa Malaysia.
The global genetic testing market size exceeded US$14.8 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow 11.6% annually to reach US$31.9 billion by 2027. Direct-to-consumer genetic screening in Malaysia and Singapore is emerging from its nascent phase with the availability of local genomics laboratories offering cost-efficient genetic screening services and growing affluence and health awareness of the population in these markets. HPM’s Qodify Service is not expected to have an impact on the consolidated net tangible assets and earnings per share of the Group for the current financial year ending 31 December 2021.
Yinda Infocomm Enters into Definitive Agreements to Acquire Key Assets and Business of the IML
Yinda Infocomm Limited announced that the Company has entered into definitive agreements with The Institute of Machine Learning GmbH (“IML”) and the founders of IML, Mr. Adam Hegedüs and Mr. Roland Trimmel (the “IML Founders”) to acquire all intellectual property and software relating to Facial Liveness Detection, Age Classification and KYC Platform and contracts with key customers and resellers. The Company will subscribe to 70% of the enlarged share capital of GenesisPro Pte Ltd, an entity incorporated in Singapore to acquire the IML Assets, for a total subscription consideration of €1.5 million, which will be satisfied by the Company in cash and allotment and issue of ordinary shares in its share capital. GenesisPro will in turn acquire the IML Assets in order to continue undertaking the business of IML.
The Company will also grant GenesisPro a convertible loan of a principal amount of €600,000 as working capital, which can be convertible by the Company into new shares in the share capital of GenesisPro. In addition, each of the IML Founders grants to the Company an option over all of the remaining shares in GenesisPro (after the abovementioned subscription) that the IML Founder owns in GenesisPro, to be satisfied by the Company by the allotment and issuance of new shares in the Company, which can be exercised within 2 years.
Ocean Sky’s Indirect JV to Sell Residential Unit at Sloane Residences
Ocean Sky International Limited announced that the Group’s indirect joint venture, TSky Balmoral Pte. Ltd. which the Group has an effective interest of 28%, has granted an option to sell a unit in the residential development known as Sloane Residences to the following persons who are considered interested persons of the Company pursuant to Chapter 9 of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (the “SGX-ST”) Listing Manual Section B: Rules of Catalist: Miss Amanda Ang Yan-Ling. The unit number, #11-08, will be sold with a 5% discount and the nett sale price is $4,151,000. Miss Ang is the daughter of the Company’s Executive Chairman and CEO, and substantial shareholder, Mr Ang Boon Cheow Edward.
CDL Sells Stake in Sincere for US$1 and Increases Stake in Shenzhen Tech Park
CITY Developments (CDL) has exited its investment in China-based Sincere Property Group for a consideration of US$1, while raising its stake in a technology park in Shenzhen. The property developer announced an agreement to sell its 63.75 per cent interest in HCP Chongqing Property Development (HCP Cayman) to an unrelated third party incorporated in the Republic of Seychelles.
The consideration was agreed upon after taking into account Sincere’s current liquidity issues and its potential bankruptcy, CDL said. For its FY2020, CDL had booked a S$1.78 billion impairment for losses attributable to Sincere – effectively writing down 93 per cent of its total investment in Sincere. Concurrently, CDL is increasing its stake in a company that owns 65 per cent of Shenzhen Longgang Tusincere Tech Park (Shenzhen Tech Park). The transfer represents partial repayment of a loan owed by Sincere to a wholly-owned subsidiary of CDL. The latest transaction will make Shenzhen Tusincere a wholly owned subsidiary of CDL. The latter will now have direct operational control over the project management of Shenzhen Tech Park and be in a position to ringfence its investment in the property.
The Sincere Divestment and the Shenzhen Tusincere Agreement are not expected to have a material impact on the earnings per share or the net tangible asset per share of the Group for the financial year ending 31 December 2021.
Regal International Group Issues Profit Warning for FY2020
Regal International Group Ltd. announced that the Group is expected to record a loss in the financial year ended 31 December 2020 (“FY2020”). Based on a preliminary review of the unaudited financial results of the Group for FY2020, the loss is mainly attributable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related preventive measures implemented by local government since second quarter of 2020. Further details of the Group’s financial performance will be disclosed when the Group finalizes and releases its unaudited financial results for FY2020.
KTL Global’s Subsidiary Signs MOU with Marine Alliance Services Pte Ltd
KTL Global Limited announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tianci Agritech Pte Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Marine Alliance Services Pte. Ltd. on the following key areas:
- Tianci Agritech to provide and supply F&B catering services and daily necessities for shipping vessels served by Marine Alliance Services
- Tianci Agritech to provide integrated services and solutions (such as food sourcing and supplies, warehousing, inventory management, logistics supply chain management and customers service) to Marine Alliance Services’ business-to-consumer (“B2C”) e-commerce platform
The core business activities of Marine Alliance Services are supplying daily necessities and provisions for shipping vessels as well as operating a B2C e-commerce platform in Singapore.
Reclaims Global 1HFY2021 Profit After Tax Surged to S$3.4 Million
Reclaims Global Limited reported a 127.7% increase in revenue to S$18.8 million in 1H2022 as compared to S$8.2 million in 1H2021. The significant increase can be partly attributed to the low base in 1H2021 as a result of the Circuit Breaker measures in April 2020, and partly attributed to the resumption of construction activities with the easing of restrictions in relations to the Covid-19 in 1H2022. The company’s profit before tax for 1H2022 amounted to S$4.0 million compared to profit before tax for 1H2021 of S$0.1 million. The profit after tax for 1HFY2021 was S$3.4 million, up from S$59,000 the previous year.
Genting Singapore’s Participation in the Yokohama Integrated Resort Bid will be Discontinued
Genting Singapore Limited announced that Yokohama City has on 10 September 2021 published its decision to cancel the Yokohama Integrated Resort Bid process and, accordingly, the Company’s participation in the Bid will be discontinued. The Company previously announced that it would be leading a consortium of local Japanese corporates and submitting a bid in response to the Yokohama City’s request for proposal for an integrated resort project in Japan.