Business / Economy

Nigerian companies become acquisition targets for Chinese investors

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-02-09 07:45

Nigerian companies will become acquisition targets by the end of 2015 as foreign investors seek to take advantage of a slump in equity valuations caused by the falling oil price, according to law firm Baker & McKenzie.

Investors from China to South Africa are interested in Nigerian industries including agriculture and mining because prices are favorable in Africa's largest crude producer and the government will probably seek to diversify away from oil, say Baker & McKenzie analysts led by Chris Hogan in Lagos.

"As valuations of companies fall they become targets for investments, acquisition or takeover by foreign players and large local companies," says Hogan, who is a partner at the London-based firm.

Nigerian company valuations are falling as Africa's biggest economy struggles to cope with a more than 50 percent drop in the price of oil since June, reducing income. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index is down 15 percent this year, the most among 93 primary global indexes tracked by Bloomberg. The naira has slumped 13 percent against the dollar on the interbank market in the past three months, the biggest fall among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Baker & McKenzie has held talks with Chinese investors about potential equity-partnership opportunities with Nigerian companies operating in power, ports and transport, analyst Frances Okosi says, without giving details.

The firm has also received interest from South African companies "looking to expand in manufacturing, fast-moving consumer goods and real estate" when the Nigerian economy begins to stabilize, says Hogan.

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