Archive for ‘Foreign acquisition’


Angolans resentful as China tightens its grip | Reuters

When a halving of oil prices left a gaping hole in Angola’s finances this year, it became clear sub-Saharan Africa‘s third largest economy needed help fast – and President Jose Eduardo dos Santos knew exactly where to turn.

A Chinese worker walks past a construction site in Lubango, Angola March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Herculano Coroado

But the multi-billion dollar loans he signed with China last month have angered Angolans who say they have been left behind as politicians and China share the spoils and Africa’s second-largest oil producer becomes ever more reliant on Beijing.

China has lent Angola around $20 billion since a 27-year civil war ended in 2002, according to Reuters estimates.

Repayments are often paid with oil or funds go directly to Chinese construction firms that have built roads, hospitals, houses and railways across the southern African country.

This means, however, dollars don’t end up entering the real economy, increasing costs for ordinary Angolans.

“I think the president humiliates Angolans,” 35-year-old cook Marisa told Reuters as she bartered with a street trader over peanuts and bananas in the capital. “The agreements with China are a benefit for them and the president and not for us.”

Police visibility has increased in the streets of Luanda in response to public suspicion and dissent over how much the government would concede to Chinese interests in its bid to revive an economy hit by low crude prices.

More than a dozen people were arrested on June 20 for allegedly planning protests threatening “order and public security” in response to dos Santos’ China trip.

FLEC, a militant group that wants independence of the northern oil-rich exclave of Cabinda, demanded China repatriate all its citizens from the region within two months or risk being “severely punished”.

Angola has the best-funded military in sub-Saharan Africa and dissent is usually quelled quickly and ruthlessly, making any significant public backlash against the government unlikely, security experts say.


Apparently aware of unease at home, dos Santos, a Soviet-educated petroleum engineer who has been in charge for 36 years, kept the details of the latest deals secret and stressed the “cooperation” and “mutual benefits” from his Beijing visit.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping hinted at a much more lopsided relationship, saying he had agreed to “assist” Angola, China’s largest supplier of crude after Saudi Arabia.

It is almost impossible to miss Beijing’s influence in Angola, from construction site signs in Chinese script to expensive Chinese restaurants and seedy “Asian-only” massage parlors in the capital’s alleyways.

Despite reservations from jobless Angolans, economists see China’s dominant role in Angola as necessary.

Angola, which relies on oil sales for 95 percent of foreign exchange revenues, slashed a third off its budget and said it would need to borrow $25 billion this year – $15 billion domestically and the rest abroad.

“Lower oil prices have put Angola in a bit of a pickle and the most obvious place to turn is China,” said Cobus de Hart, an analyst at NKC African Economics. “If China can help Angola get out of the fiscal hole then it could be a positive step.”

Despite this, many Angolans are distrustful of the relationship, pointing to the millions who still live on less than $2 a day and World Bank studies that rank the country 169 out of 175 countries in terms of income equality.

Beijing’s role in Africa has often been criticized by Western governments and some African leaders who call it neo-colonial – taking resources in return for infrastructure that supports China’s construction industry.


There are around 50 Chinese state companies and 400 private companies operating in Angola. They are supposed to use 30 percent Angolan labor but industry sources say this is rarely observed and Angolans tend to get the lowliest positions.

“Always the Chinese will be the master and the Angolan the helper,” said Paulo Nascimento, a 29-year-old Luanda taxi driver. “This is our country. We should be in charge.”

Chinese firms strongly deny accusations of exploitation, arguing that they have done more to rebuild Angola since the war than Western critics sitting on the sidelines.

“I think Angola does not have too much money so China is a very good choice for them,” Pascal Wang, 36, marketing manager at Chinese telecom company ZTE, told Reuters. “We don´t come here just to do business. We want to help Angolans.”

With the exception of investment from former colonial power Portugal and offshore oil drilling by U.S. and European oil majors, Western governments, donors and investors have focused their attention elsewhere in Africa.

There are signs this may be changing.

France’s AccorHotels, the world’s fourth-largest hotelier, sealed a deal last week with Angolan insurance and investment company AAA Activos to open 50 hotels by 2017. The deal coincided with a visit to Luanda by French President Francois Hollande.

The World Bank, meanwhile, agreed to $650 million in financial support this month, the first funding from the Washington-based lender since 2010.

Until the benefits of investment reach the masses rather than the elite, resentment against foreign investors and the government is likely to fester.

“We have always been slaves,” Nascimento said. “We are lost in the world. We are the leftovers.”

via Angolans resentful as China tightens its grip | Reuters.


Asset-Hungry Chinese Companies to Spend $120 Billion in Overseas Purchases This Year – Businessweek

Chinese money has been going overseas for years now, snapping up real estate, technology companies, and more than anything, oil and gas resources. But this year will be a turning point: For the first time, Chinese overseas investment will surpass foreign direct investment into China.

Chinese investment is poised to exceed $120 billion in 2014, up from $108 billion last year, predicts the Beijing-based Center for China & Globalization in a report released Wednesday. Foreign investment into China totaled $87.36 billion in the first nine months. It is expected to reach $120 billion this year.

“China’s sustainable growth and its ability to compete on the world stage hinge upon the speed at which it can foster its own powerful international companies,” said Long Yongtu, the chairman of the center, the China Daily reported today. “’Going out’ will provide a platform for Chinese companies to grow through participation in the global economy.”

via Asset-Hungry Chinese Companies to Spend $120 Billion in Overseas Purchases This Year – Businessweek.


China’s Bright Food to buy control of Israel’s largest food company | Reuters

China’s Bright Food Group Co Ltd SHMNGA.UL said on Thursday it has signed a preliminary agreement to buy 56 percent of Israel’s largest food company Tnuva from private equity firm ApaxAPAX.UL, extending a string of overseas acquisitions.

bright foods

bright foods (Photo credit: Runs With Scissors)

A spokesman for Bright Food did not disclose how much it has agreed to pay, but Israeli news websites reported late on Wednesday the deal valued all of Tnuva, a specialist dairy produce supplier, at 8.6 billion shekels ($2.5 billion).

When Apax and Israeli investment company Mivtach Shamir Holdings Ltd (MISH.TA) acquired control of Tnuva in 2008, the company was valued at $989 million in total.

“Israel is a country with highly developed agriculture and animal husbandry techniques. Tnuva, as Israel’s largest food company, has a long history and various products and large market share,” the Bright Food spokesman said in a text message sent to Reuters.

Shanghai-based Bright Food has not yet reached an agreement with Israeli investment company Mivtach Shamir Holdings Ltd (MISH.TA), which owns 21 percent of Tnuva, the Calcalist website said. A group of kibbutzim, or cooperative farms, own the rest of Tnuva.

In January Bright Food bought Australian dairy company Mundella Foods. It previously bought Australia’s Manassen Foods, which supplies food brands to Australian retailers, and New Zealand’s Synlait Milk Ltd (SML.NZ).

via China’s Bright Food to buy control of Israel’s largest food company | Reuters.

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* Chinese Investment in U.S. Doubles to $14 Billion in 2013 – Businessweek

Chinese companies are on a North American buying spree, investing $14 billion in the U.S. last year, a record high, says a new report by New York’s Rhodium Group.

Chinese investment in the United States doubled in 2013, driven by large-scale acquisitions in food, energy and real estate,” write analysts Thilo Hanemann and Cassie Gao in “Chinese FDI in the U.S.: 2013 Recap and 2014 Outlook,” released on Jan. 7.

“We expect Chinese interest in U.S. assets to remain strong in 2014 because of aggressive economic reforms in China, a more liberal policy environment for Chinese outbound investors, and a positive outlook for the U.S. economy.”

Whereas state-owned companies have dominated in total deal value in the past, that is no longer true. In 2013, more than 70 percent of investment came from private enterprises, responsible for more than 80 percent of a total of 87 deals (of which 44 were acquisitions and another 38 were greenfield projects).

Where is the money going? Unconventional oil and gas was a top draw, with $3.2 billion invested in deals that include CNOOC’s (CEO) purchase of Calgary, Alberta-based Nexen Energy’s U.S. operations, Sinopec’s (SHI) joint venture with Chesapeake Energy (CHK) of Oklahoma City, and a Sinochem International (600500:CH) stake in West Texas’s Wolfcamp Shale. Commercial real estate was also a big draw, with 18 investments in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit totaling $1.8 billion. And the single biggest deal: Shuanghui’s (000895:CH) $7.1 billion takeover of pork processor Smithfield.

Chinese companies are also becoming big employers of Americans, says Rhodium, providing more than 70,000 full-time jobs as of the end of last year. That’s an eightfold increase since 2007. Huawei Technologies (002502:CH) and Lenovo (992:HK) are big employers, but just one company—Smithfield—accounted for 37,000 of the total workers at Chinese companies.

A separate report released in early December by private equity fund A Capital found that Chinese investors put $24.7 billion into mergers and acquisitions in all of North America in the just first three-quarters of last year.

via Chinese Investment in U.S. Doubles to $14 Billion in 2013 – Businessweek.

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Spanish meats group Campofrio gets new foreign owners | Reuters

Mexican frozen food company Sigma and Shuanghui International Holdings of China have signed an agreement to share ownership of Spanish meat processor Campofrio (CPF.MC), cooling hopes of a bidding war.

The deal, which values Campofrio at 700 million euros ($957 million), is the latest in Spain by Latin American buyers keen to tap into an economic turnaround and among only a handful of commitments by Chinese companies in major listed Spanish firms.

Campofrio\’s shares hit a 52-week high this month on expectations that Shuanghui would make a higher bid after Sigma\’s November takeover offer of 6.8 euros per share.

via Spanish meats group Campofrio gets new foreign owners | Reuters.


China’s Dalian Wanda to buy UK yacht maker and hotel

BBC: “Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese property developer, has said that it will spend £1bn ($1.6bn) to buy a British yacht maker and property in London.

Wanda will pay £320m for alm

Sunseeker Australia Manhattan 53 boat at the Sydney International Boat Showost 92% of Sunseeker International, famous for providing yachts for James Bond movies.

It will also invest £700m to develop a five-star hotel in London.

The luxury hotel in London will be the first such development to be operated by a Chinese firm overseas. The move was welcomed by the Mayor of London.

‘Soaring global confidence’

Boris Johnson said that the deal was “yet another sign of the soaring global confidence in London as a world-beating place to live, work and do business”.

Dalian Wanda Group’s Wang Jianlin: “We are going to keep jobs in Poole. We will not lay anybody off”

Wang Jianlian, chief executive and founder of Wanda added that “the London property market has excellent investment opportunities and we have confidence that Wanda’s strength and expertise will help make The Wanda London’s premier hotel, and will further promote development in the area”.

The new hotel will be built by the river in Vauxhall, South London as part of the Nine Elms regeneration.

Wanda, which was founded in 1998 and already operates 34 five-star hotels in China, said that it plans to build a chain of Wanda hotels across other foreign cities as well.

“Through the international development of Wanda Hotels, we are confident that we will be the leader in bringing branded Chinese luxury hotels to the global market, where they have long been absent,” said Mr Wang, who is one of China’s richest men”

via BBC News – China’s Dalian Wanda to buy UK yacht maker and hotel.

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Sun Pharma Keeps Expanding Overseas

WSJ: “A bid by India’s Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.  to acquire Swedish drug maker Meda AB  for as much as $5 billion, could be a big plus for Sun, say stock analysts in India.

Mumbai-based Sun Pharma, which makes generic versions of patented drugs including those used for cancer treatment, has been the best performer on India’s benchmark Sensex’s 30-share index this year.

The stock has gained 42% this year to close at 1045.50 rupees ($18.45) a share on Friday. In comparison, Sensex is up only around 3% since the beginning of the year.

Analysts say a big acquisition that expands Sun Pharma’s product offerings would help it grow further. Already, Sun Pharma generates more than 70% of its total revenue from overseas units.”

via Sun Pharma Keeps Expanding Overseas – India Real Time – WSJ.


Smithfield Foods to be bought by Chinese firm Shuanghui International

Washington Post: “Smithfield Foods, whose signature hams helped make it the world’s largest pork producer, is being bought by a Chinese firm in a deal that marks China’s largest takeover of an American consumer brand.

The $4.7 billion purchase by Shuanghui International touches several sensitive fronts at once — the quick rise of Chinese investment in the United States, China’s troubled record on the environment and the acquisition of Smithfield’s animal gene technology by a country considered to be America’s chief global competitor.

Consumer spending was stronger than first thought, but businesses restocked more slowly and state and local government spending cuts were deeper.

What’s more, the deal puts a major company from a Chinese industry with a history of food-safety problems in charge of a U.S. firm with past environmental problems of its own.

Separately, U.S. government and business officials often complain that China uses strict control of its market of 1.6 billion people to force American companies that want to do business there to surrender intellectual property.

The deal may become a test of U.S. attitudes toward China as it moves through likely reviews by the Justice Department and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

With no obvious national security concerns stemming from the production of ham, bacon and sausage, Smithfield chief executive C. Larry Pope said he expects approval. He emphasized that the deal wasn’t about bringing Chinese pork products or management standards to the United States but about sending U.S. products and expertise the other way. The deal will leave intact Smithfield’s management, workforce and 70-year presence in Virginia, he said.”

via Smithfield Foods to be bought by Chinese firm Shuanghui International – The Washington Post.

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Royal Albert Dock set to become London’s third business district under £1bn deal

London 24: “London Mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled details of a £1bn deal to transform London’s historic docklands into the capital’s next business district forging links with China.

View of Royal Albert Docks

The state-of-the-art business district at Royal Albert Dock will act as a platform for financial, high-tech and knowledge driven industries, and will be largest development of its kind in the UK.

It is set to become the third financial district in the capital after the City and Canary Wharf, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

Owned by the Greater London Authority the 35-acre site will be transformed by commercial developer ABP Chinese (Holding) into a gateway for Asian and Chinese business seeking to establish headquarters in Europe, along with other businesses wanting to set up in the capital.

The deal is believed to be worth £6bn to the UK economy, generating £23m in business rates annually and acting as a catalyst for further development in the area.

Mr Johnson said: “For centuries the waterways of east London were the throbbing arteries of UK trade and commerce. This deal symbolises the revival of that great era, continuing the re-invention of this once maligned part of the capital into a 21st century centre of trade and investment.”

The deal is expected to deliver around 20,000 full-time jobs and boost local employment in Newham by 30 per cent.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone offers an unrivalled investment opportunity and this deal further strengthens Newham’s growing reputation as an ideal destination for international business.”

The deal represents one of the first direct investment by a Chinese developer in London’s property market.

Chairman of ABP, Mr Xu, said: “My vision is to develop a world class international business district which will initially target Asian businesses to help them secure a destination in London, which in China is seen as the gateway to both the United Kingdom and the wider European economy. Our plans aim to strengthen trade between east and west, provide new local jobs and deliver benefits for the wider London and UK economy.”

The area will become home to over 3.2 million square feet of high quality work, retail and leisure space, including 2.5 million square feet of prime office space along London’s waterways.”

via Royal Albert Dock set to become London’s third business district under £1bn deal – Politics – London24.

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* Lloyd’s building sold to Ping An

Insurance Times: “The Lloyd’s building will be sold to Chinese insurance firm Ping An for about £260m.

Lloyd's building

There is no sign that the Lloyd’s market would need to leave the building.

Commerz Real was the firm appointed to selll the building, helped by CBRE and Savills, according to The Times.”

via Lloyd’s building sold to Ping An | Latest News | Insurance Times.

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