Bidvest Offers to Buy Capespan Shares, Topping Bid by Zeder Investments

Bidvest Group Ltd. (BVT) Finance Director David Cleasby said his company offered to buy 50 million shares in Capespan Group Ltd., South Africa’s biggest fruit exporter, at 2.40 rand apiece, topping a bid by Zeder Investments Ltd. (ZED)

Bidvest’s proposal to buy 15 percent of Capespan, submitted via the logistics company’s website, is still tentative at this point and “time will tell if we put in a formal offer,” Cleasby said in a mobile-phone interview today. “We have to do our homework first and we’re in the process of doing some work on Capespan.”

Zeder, an investment company that specializes in agricultural assets, is already Cape Town-based Capespan’s biggest shareholder. It offered 2.25 rand a share for the stock it doesn’t already own on June 14. Bidvest’s proposal values the fruit exporter at 795 million rand ($112 million), 50 million rand more than Zeder’s plan.

Bidvest Chief Executive Officer Brian Joffe said today that his company, whose businesses include cosmetics manufacturing, car retailing and grain handling, is in the process of concluding “one or two” acquisitions in South Africa. He didn’t specify any transactions.

Zeder’s Growing Stake

Zeder, which is based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, said on Aug. 24 that it held 27.7 percent of Capespan, an increase from the 19.7 percent reported in the fruit exporter’s 2010 annual report, and had acceptances enabling it to raise the stake to almost 40 percent.

An unlisted company whose shares trade over the counter, Capespan has operations in Asia, Europe and the Americas and generated 2.6 billion rand in revenue in 2010. In addition to fruit exports and logistics businesses, Capespan also operates port terminals.

Bidvest rose as much as 6.11 rand, or 4.3 percent, to 149.60 rand, the highest intraday price since July 6, and was up 3.8 percent as of 1:32 p.m. in Johannesburg trading. Zeder fell 0.4 percent to 2.39 rand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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