IBL of Mauritius on Prowl for Acquisitions on African Mainland

  • Continent is ‘rife with potential,’ the conglomerate says
  • Company looking for healthcare, retail opportunities

Mauritian conglomerate IBL Ltd. is looking to expand African operations past a handful of Indian Ocean island nations into countries such as the Ivory Coast.

“Africa is closest to us geographically and we believe it is a continent rife with potential,” he said.

Mauritius’s third-biggest company by market value already has businesses in countries from Seychelles to Reunion Island. Last year, it bought the remaining 50 percent stake in Ugandan meat processor Fresh Cut Ltd. that it didn’t already own, the group’s Chief Executive Officer of Operations, Yann Duchesne, said in an interview in the capital, Port Louis on Thursday.

The company is looking for opportunities in politically and economically stable nations such as the Ivory Coast, where the population in the commercial capital, Abidjan, presents an “interesting” market for several of the conglomerate’s operations, he said.

The diversified group with interests in food and distribution, transport and logistics, financial services, agriculture and construction was formed from the merger of Ireland Blyth Ltd. with GML Investissement in June. The new entity is now the biggest listed company on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius after Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd. and State Bank of Mauritius Ltd.

By end-2015, the amalgamated company held assets in Mauritius worth 43.5 billion rupees ($1.24 billion) and another 6.4 billion rupees outside the island nation in 18 countries including the Maldives, British Virgin Islands and Spain.

In Africa, it will be looking at industries with high demand that can be further developed, such as healthcare and retail. The main constraints are the lack of political stability and a skilled workforce in some regions, Duchesne said.

“This obviously diminishes our opportunities to invest on the continent, but we do not intend to stop looking,” he said.

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