Investec Bets on Gold With Purchase of South African Lime Miner

JOHANNESSBURG (Capital Markets in Africa) – Investec Plc’s private-equity unit bought Idwala Industrial Holdings Co., a producer of lime supplying South Africa’s gold, base metal and chemical industries, as commodity prices rebound on demand from China.

The buyout firm bought the business from Old Mutual Plc, Ethos Private Equity Ltd. and Kagiso Tiso Holdings Co. in December, Jacci Myburgh, the head of Old Mutual’s private equity division in Cape Town, said in an interview. He declined to disclose the price. Investec couldn’t immediately comment and Idwala Managing Director James Welsh declined to comment.

The purchase of the producer of lime, used to refine gold and silver, comes after a rally in mining stocks to near five-year highs on South Africa’s bourse in 2016. Global deals in the gold-mining industry recorded $16.1 billion last year, the most among commodities.

Idwala was formed by a management buyout of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Alpha Ltd. in 1998. In 2004, Tiso Group and FirstRand Ltd.’s Rand Merchant Bank bought 74 percent of Idwala in a transaction the investors valued at 938 million rand, which was then the equivalent of $132 million. A refinancing in 2008 helped RMB exit the business, clearing the way for Old Mutual to buy a stake, according to Idwala’s website.


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