South Africa’s Murray & Roberts to boost multinational presence with Aveng acquisition
South African construction firm Murray & Roberts has revealed an agreement to buy Aveng Limited, a move which would significantly bolster its presence in Africa and Australia.
The deal is said to be worth 1bn rand ($78.5mn), and is part of an ongoing effort by Murray & Roberts to expand internationally. So far it has offices in Southern Africa, America and Australia.
The firm predominantly focuses on engineering and construction projects in the natural resources market, specifically the mining, oil and gas and power/water sectors.
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Henry Laas, Group Chief Executive, Murray & Roberts commented: “The primary objective of the potential transaction is to establish a large multinational engineering and construction group with the scale necessary to compete more effectively in relevant markets.”
Aveng’s Australian based business, McConnell Dowell, is a major engineering, construction, and maintenance contractor, focused on the building, infrastructure and oil and gas sectors in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
Aveng’s Mining business, Moolmans, is one of the largest surface mining contractors in Africa, involved in all aspects across the mining value chain.
The company has endured recent struggles financially, making losses due to a slump in South African construction activity. However, news of the takeover saw share values rise by as much as 30%.
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.