British Duo to Sweeten Rea Vipingo Offer

Two British brothers who have proposed to take over sisal producer Rea Vipingo have hinted that they could sweeten their buyout proposal following a superior counter-offer by listed investment firm Centum.

The offers

Centum, which owns 0.49 per cent of the sisal maker, last week said it will pay Rea Vipingo shareholders 25 per cent more than what the two British brothers through Rea Trading are offering to buy out the firm, in a move that could scuttle the deal.

Richard Robinow, chairman of Rea Trading, which already owns 57.04 per cent of the sisal producer, said on Monday the firm was considering options for making the offer more attractive.

“In view of developments since Rea Trading made its offer for Rea Vipingo Plantations (RVP), Rea Trading is evaluating options for the better creation of value from RVP’s assets for the benefit of all stakeholders, including its minority shareholders,” noted a statement.

The majority shareholders also said Rea Vipingo will not divest from large-scale sisal growing even after conclusion of the proposed buyout of the sisal producer’s issued shares.

Rea Trading, which is majority owned by Richard Robinow who is one of the directors of Rea Vipingo Plantations and his brother Jeremy, is offering Sh40 for every share in a deal that values Rea Vipingo at Sh2.4 billion.

“We will move ahead with the transaction subject to the relevant regulatory approvals. Our commitment is to the thousands of Kenyans and Tanzanians, their families and the local communities that derive their livelihoods from the sisal plantations and the associated commercial eco-system,” said Mr Robinow in a statement on Monday.

Rea Trading has disclosed that the deal will be funded using a loan obtained from Commercial Bank of Africa and if accepted, will result in the delisting of Rea Vipingo Plantations from the Nairobi bourse.

Centum, on the other hand, which has been investing heavily in real estate but has disclosed that it has plans to invest in agribusiness is offering Sh50 per share, in a deal that values the sisal producer at Sh3 billion.

“Ultimately, we are plantation people and we intend to retain our controlling interest in the sisal operations of Rea Vipingo Plantations. We are not real estate people and have no expertise in real estate development but we do understand the sisal business and its heritage, backed by 30 years of experience,” said Mr Robinow.

– Business Daily