East Africa M&A deals jump to USD 3bn in Q1 2012.

By bne IntelliNews April 10, 2012
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in East Africa rose sharply in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year due to higher activity in the oil and gas sectors, The EastAfrican reported. There were 12 M&A deals in all sectors with a total value of USD 3bn completed or announced in Q1 2012, the highest during the first three months of any year, compared with six deals worth USD 17mn in Q1 2011, according to data from Thomson One Banker. Uganda and Tanzania accounted for the most of the M&A activity in the region. The regions biggest economy, Kenya lagged behind in M&A deals because of a slow approval process. Kenyas Competition Authority was set up in August last year but its board was only appointed at the end of February. Moreover, there is no threshold on the deals to be approved by the Competition Authority, so any merger and acquisition, however small, has to be approved by the agency. Uganda and Rwanda do not require deals to be approved by any authority while in Tanzania only deals with a value exceeding USD 800,000 require approval. Market players hope that regulations and thresholds will be in place in Kenya by June this year. The largest deal in Q1 2012 was the USD 2.9bn acquisition of a 66% interest in the Ugandan exploration areas of Tullow Oil by a consortium of investors led by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Total SA.

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