Kutana Steel purchases Saint-Gobain Pipelines

Company changes name to Besaans.

Verdant Capital has facilitated selling Saint Gobain Pipelines, a subsidiary of Saint Gobain South Africa, to Kutana Steel, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kutana Group. Saint Gobain South Africa is a subsidiary of Compagnie de Saint Gobain, one of the largest top100 industrial companies in the world, is listed on the Euronext Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of USD 32 billion. Saint Gobain hired Verdant Capital to sell Saint-Gobain Pipelines when it ceased to be core to its business.

The Kutana Group is a South African women-owned BBBEE investment firm. Kutana were identified by Verdant Capital as a potential buyer following their acquisitions of similar and potentially synergistic businesses from Aveng in 2016: Steeledale and E+PC Engineering and Projects. The transactions are part of a broader transformation of the industrial sector in South Africa.

Saint Gobain Pipelines is involved in the production of iron castings for industrial parts (especially into the mining services and transportation infrastructure sectors) and cookware. Its iron cookware products are supplied under the BestDuty and Chef Supreme brand names, both of which have developed strong brand value over many years. The company held a comparative advantage over competitor firms and products flowing from China in terms of both delivery times and local content requirements in certain industries e.g. valves and railways. The business was founded in 1946 as Besaans du Plessis and had been acquired by Saint Gobain in 1998.

Potjie – Traditional, healthy and good fun. Potjiekos has been around, loved and enjoyed for a long time. The traditional pots started life in the 1500s when humans first learned to cast iron. The 1600s brought the pots to Africa along with the explorers and missionaries. The locals, seeing the value of these items began to trade their commodities in exchange for them until the potjie had reached all cultures within Africa. With modern technology and green sand casting, it is possible to produce this high quality cookware today that is as popular as it was back then. Locally the iron cookware is known as the Best Duty range and has been manufactured by Besaans for 50 plus years

Transaction volumes in South Africa over the last two years have been impacted by weaker macroeconomic conditions and by political uncertainty, and the knock-on impact on business confidence. Notwithstanding these headwinds, Verdant Capital structured and implemented a targeted process to achieve the client’s objectives of a clean sale.

Verdant Capital acted as sole financial advisor with respect to the sale of Saint-Gobain Pipelines. Verdant Capital has completed three cross-border M&A transactions in 2017 alone.

Thoko Mokgosi-Mwantembe, CEO and founding member of Kutana, says the group takes a long-term view of the potential for growth in infrastructure, development and mining in South Africa, while investing in the steel and industrial manufacturing sectors whose fortunes are closely aligned with infrastructural development.

“Investment for infrastructure development is a crucial part of raising South Africa’s growth rate. It is at the centre of achieving sustainable, socially cohesive and growth oriented development and transformation.”

“We invest in companies alongside their management teams and staff as we believe in entrepreneurial businesses with a culture for driving growth. Our view is that all the staff in the business should share in this growth,” said Mokgosi-Mwantembe.

“By taking these businesses out of large corporates we can drive a more entrepreneurial culture, transformation and growth by empowering the staff.”

The company has also recently sent out a notice that it has been given permission to change the name from Saint-Gobain Pipelines to Besaans.