The Imperial Group’s Board of Directors has voted to split the company into two independent businesses – Imperial Logistics, a logistics service provider which operates across Africa and Europe, and the automotive business, Motus.
The decision will see the transfer by Imperial of all of its automotive related interests to Motus Holdings Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary, subject to approval by shareholders and requisite regulatory authorities.
A company statement in which the decision was announced says transformation and development of the Imperial Group in recent years has been directed at value creation through strategic clarity, managerial focus and shareholder insight.
However, the approach has exposed the absence of operational synergies and has resulted in the rapid establishment of Imperial Logistics and Motus as two large, independent divisions.
“After considering whether the long-term prospects of Imperial Logistics and Motus will be enhanced by them being separately listed, the Board believes that the separation of the two will enable the component parts to operate in a more focused and efficient manner, thereby allowing each of the businesses to achieve their respective strategic goals,” the statement says.
It adds that the separation is focused on providing a platform for each to pursue independent strategic initiatives, enhancing the ability of the businesses to mitigate and manage specific risks and challenges and proactively react to changes within the market segments and economic landscapes in which they operate.
“Imperial Logistics is an integrated outsourced logistics service provider with a presence in 33 countries on five continents, employing more than 30 000 people. With its strong regional growth platforms, specialist capabilities customised to serve multi-national clients in attractive industry verticals, and an asset-right business model, the company is expected to deliver sustainable revenue growth, enhanced profitability and a stable dividend,” the statement says.
Motus, which employs more than 18 000 people, is described as Southern Africa’s largest vehicle group with a selected international presence in the United Kingdom and Australia – “a diversified, non-manufacturing service provider to the automotive sector, with a unique business model that is fully integrated across the motor value chain: import and distribution; retail and rental; motor related financial services and aftermarket parts.”
According to the statement, Imperial anticipates that the unbundling will be implemented during the fourth quarter of this year, with a general meeting to obtain shareholder approval planned for October 30.
In terms of who will head the separate entities, the statement adds that Osman Arbee will relinquish his role as CEO of Imperial but will remain the CEO of Motus, while Marius Swanepoel will become the CEO of Imperial, which will be renamed Imperial Logistics.
With Swanepoel scheduled to retire in June, 2019, Mohammed Akoojee – currently Imperial’s Chief Financial Officer – will be appointed CEO designate of Imperial Logistics to facilitate an orderly transition and handover.