Seaboard Corp confident of sealing deal for Kenya's Unga

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Seaboard Corporation SEB.A is confident of buying out three quarters of minority shareholders in Kenyan agro-processor Unga Group UNGA.NR to allow it to eventually take the company private, Seaboard said on Monday.

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. It needs to purchase three quarters of that total to be able to take Unga private.

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.

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.

Seaboard has offered to pay 40 shillings ($0.3970) per share, representing 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.

The offer closes on June 13.

“Our interest in Unga Plc is an effort to deepen our presence across targeted markets in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Hennie Combrink, Seaboard’s vice president of international business development and finance.

“Africa is part of Seaboard’s core business model. We have been here since the 60’s and the continent remains an important part of our business portfolio.”

Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Mark Potter