LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Glencore’s warehousing and logistics unit Pacorini has made its first move into Africa, breaking into a major growth region for its parent with the acquisition of South African logistics group Access Freight.
A Glencore spokesman confirmed the move but declined to disclose the price tag of the deal, which has yet to be finalised.
The acquisition, though small for the world’s largest diversified commodities trader, points to Africa’s importance to Glencore, and to the bolt-on deals that are likely to be top of the list as the acquisitive group finalises and digests the $32 billion takeover of miner Xstrata.
Pacorini, acquired by Glencore in 2010, has proved a profitable deal as warehouses that store industrial metals traded on the London Metal Exchange turn into money-spinners for commodity traders and banks alike.
Access Freight will give Pacorini a logistics network in sub-Saharan Africa, ready to profit from the growing production of metals and minerals including copper, cobalt and iron ore.
It pushes Pacorini further into logistics, an area which has come to interest old-style warehouse firms battling Pacorini’s influence on their turf. These firms have focused on logistics businesses, reduced exposure to metal and sought new markets.
Singapore-headquartered peer CWT Commodities is growing in south America and southern Africa and investing in its logistics service.
Major Dutch warehousing and logistics firm Steinweg has bought South Africa-based Nomad Freight, a warehousing and forwarding company, and has acquired a majority shareholding in Bridge Shipping, which offers freight and storage in Africa.
Access Freight has warehouses in Durban, Johannesburg and Namibia’s Walvis Bay, and is also building a facility in Beira, Mozambique.