Seaboard fails to buy enough shares to seal Kenya's Unga deal

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hog producer Seaboard Corporation SEB.A has failed to buy out the three quarters of minority shareholders in Kenyan agro-processor Unga Group UNGA.NR that would have allowed it to eventually take the company private, it said on Friday.

The U.S. firm offered in February to buy the 46.15 percent of Unga’s shares that are held by minority shareholders and listed on the Nairobi bourse.

The rest of the shares are owned by a local group of investors via a vehicle called Victus Ltd, which supports Seaboard’s goal of buying out the minority shareholders and eventually delisting the firm.

Seaboard, which had about 2 percent of Unga before the offer with Victus which has a 50.93 percent stake, needed to acquire three-quarters of the total issued share capital to be able to take Unga private. It said it would comment further on the outcome of the offer at a later date.

Seaboard and its allies managed to secure control of 70 percent of the company after the offer, which was priced at 40 shillings ($0.3974), a 31.75 percent premium on the shares’ 250-day weighted average price. Unga’s current market capitalization is around 3 billion shillings ($30 million), according to Reuters data.

Market participants said Unga, whose businesses range from wheat and maize milling to baking and animal nutrition products, faced growing competition from unlisted companies, hence the desire to also take it private and operate on a similar footing.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise