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Ramaphosa denies BHP’s takeover bid of Anglo shows lack of confidence in economy

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has rejected claims that BHP Billiton’s bid to take over Anglo American was a vote of no confidence in the country’s economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said it did not want to comment in detail on the bid by BHP Billiton to take over Anglo American. File picture

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has rejected claims that BHP Billiton’s bid to take over Anglo American was a vote of no confidence in the country’s economy.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said this proposed deal does not point to a hostile business environment in the country.

He said there were many multibillion-rand investment projects that have been implemented and some were in the pipeline.

BHP Billiton has proposed more than R740 billion to take over Anglo American, but this has been rejected by the latter.

Magwenya said what was happening between BHP and Anglo American was a business dealing that did not point to the lack of confidence in the economy.

Magwenya also said the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) has addressed some of the challenges in the sector.

“The Presidency has noted with concern the emerging narrative around the proposed BHP Billiton transaction with Anglo American. Some analysts and sections of the media have sought to portray this market activity as a vote of no confidence on South Africa.

“The Presidency rejects the notion that a commercial approach by BHP Billiton equals to a hostile environment for investors. Some of the issues being sighted (sic) are in the process of being resolved with the participation and partnership of business,” said Magwenya.

He said the NLCC has done a lot of work to resolve challenges in the sector.

The time for vessels to offload goods at the South African ports has been reduced, he added.

Magwenya said there have been a number of investments in the last few years and this shows the business sector has confidence in the economy.

Amazon has invested R15.6 billion, while in the auto sector Toyota pumped in R4.2bn, Ford invested R16bn, Mercedes invested R10bn and BMW put in R5bn.

Nissan has invested R3bn in the country and Isuzu invested R1.2bn.

“In total over five years, some R83bn in automotive investments was committed between 2018-2023, of which the majority have been completed,” said Magwenya.

There was also an investment of R3.4bn in the Bayhead rail terminal in Durban, and Ramaphosa launched the project a few weeks ago.

There are also billions in investments by a number of companies in different sectors of the economy.

The government was also resolving challenges in the logistics sector.

“With respect to logistics, the NLCC has enabled significant improvement in resolving those challenges. The private sector is being crowded in, with respect to operating some of the critical corridor lines. There are improvements in our ports, particularly in Durban to improve the turnaround times of vessels.”

Magwenya said it was still early to comment on the deal. But the Competition Commission will subject it to regulatory processes.

“It’s still early days in terms of the proposal that BHP has submitted to Anglo, and from what we know, that initial proposal has been rejected by Anglo. For us, this is your normal market activity. Admittedly, it involves very large players in the sector and a significant player in South Africa’s mining industry, but it’s still very early days in that transaction.“

He said they did not want to speculate what would happen. They will wait until all processes unfold. But the bid has to follow all processes outlined in the law.

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