South African Black Economic Empowerment group the Shanduka Group is targeting Nigeria in its investment expansion strategy, and has the funds for further acquisitions following its purchase of a stake in MTN Nigeria.

The Shanduka Group – founded and controlled by trade unionist billionaire Cyril Ramaphosa – intends to follow a strategy of rapid expansion across the African continent, taking another step into Nigeria this week with the acquisition of an undisclosed minority stake in MTN Nigeria.

The Group is targeting countries displaying particularly strong growth, as such Nigeria will be a key focal point to any acquisitive growth the group decides to pursue – something CEO Phuti Mahanyele says the group is well financially positioned to do.

“Our vision is to grow as much as we can; the only limitation might be our own ambitions,” Mahanyele told BusinessDay.

She went on to disclose that the Group’s financial position is strong, saying: “We have divested from quite a few of our investments in the last two years and freed up cash for us to be able to pursue some of the investments we have made.”

Speaking on the Group’s targeting of Nigeria in particular, as is becoming increasingly apparent especially following the $335 million MTN acquisition, Mahanyele noted: “The Nigeria you saw in 2004 is not the same country you see today,” adding: “There are a lot of opportunities in the country and we are exploring some of them.”

In addition to the MTN deal, other Nigeria based opportunities are in the pipeline for Shanduka, with Mahanyele revealing: “…we have been short-listed for an electricity distribution tender in Abuja.”

The Group had already been involved in the Nigerian market, owning a stake in Nigerian telecommunications tower producer Helios.

The MTN Nigeria deal which took place this week has proven the largest transaction concluded by the Shanduka Group outside of South Africa, and marks the ramping up of continental expansion plans.  The deal has, however, courted controversy given that Ramaphosa is currently Chairman of the MTN Group, with questions raised as to the propriety of the deal given his dual involvement in the affected parties.


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