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South African billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong partners Biovac to produce COVID-19 vaccines

Patrick Soon-Shiong looks to deploy COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa.

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Patrick Soon-Shiong, South African-U.S. billionaire businessman. ©Billionaires.Africa

The year 2020 was difficult the world over. The global grip of the COVID-19 pandemic began in March and a second wave of the virus struck Europe in December. As scientists scrambled for vaccines, the international community was kept nervously on its toes. 

By December 2020, the World Health Organization approved emergency validation for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. By February, it listed two more vaccines for urgent use. 

But the challenge then became how to distribute the vaccines in a streamlined manner to the world’s more than 6 billion population, and especially in Africa, where South Africa has been the hardest hit. This is where the partnership between the U.S.-based South African-born billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong and a local biopharmaceutical company comes in.     

On March 18, 2021, Cape Town-based biopharmaceutical company Biovac announced a partnership with Soon-Shiong’s ImmunityBio, an immunotherapy company based in the United States, to manufacture its second-generation COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa. 

The partnership will bring the vaccine and numerous others to South Africa and its neighbors and speed up delivery processes. It will also create a technology transfer to build Biovac’s capacity for active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing.  

According to Money Web, Soon-Shiong said: “In addition to working with local researchers in clinical development, I am equally pleased to commence work with Biovac, which is the only specialist vaccine company in South Africa. This gives us the confidence that South African manufacturing capability is at an equally high standard to its global counterparts and has the potential to respond more fully to future pandemics.”

Money Web also quoted Biovac CEO Morena Makhoana as saying: “This collaboration with ImmunityBio is a strategic step in our quest for fully-fledged vaccine manufacturing capability in Africa.” He added that: “These collaborations are a significant stepping stone to addressing the gap in Africa of self-reliance and pandemic response capability.”

Soon-Shiong is a South African-U.S. billionaire businessman, transplant surgeon, bioscientist and media proprietor. He is the inventor of Abraxane, a drug known for its efficacy against lung, breast and pancreatic cancer.

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Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

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Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

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South African tycoon Jens Montanana’s Datatec acquires UK-based firm after closing $252-million deal

Datatec is a South African ICT services provider.

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Jens Montanana.

Logicalis UK&I has acquired Q Associates, one of the UK’s leading IT consultancies services, as part of its strategy to expand its expertise in digital infrastructure.

Logicalis UK&I is a wholly owned subsidiary of Datatec, a South African multinational technology group led by businessman Jens Montanana.

The news comes after Datatec sold its management consulting business for R4.12 billion ($252 million) to UK fund manager Bridgepoint Development Capital.

The acquisition, which provides IT consultancy services for data management, protection, compliance, and information security, aligns with the group’s strategic growth plans.

Montanana, Datatec’s CEO, commented on the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, stating that it will broaden Logicalis UK&I’s reach and add value to customers across industries.

“The acquisition of Q Associates will extend the reach and skills of Logicalis UK&I, underlining our commitment to grow and provide increased value to customers across all sectors, especially higher education and government secured services,” he said.

According to a press release obtained by Billionaires.Africa, the transaction complements Logicalis UK&I’s core expertise in digital infrastructure, networking, and cloud, enabling a broader portfolio of best-in-class solutions and services for customers operating in a digitally enabled world.

Datatec is a South African provider of ICT services, specializing in software and cloud computing solutions such as Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service.

The ICT services company has expanded to more than 50 countries across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific under the leadership of Montanana, who founded the group in 1986 and owns a significant 11.98-percent stake in the group.

The multinational technology group sold its management consulting business Analysys Mason to Bridgepoint Development Capital for R4.12 billion ($252 million) more than a month ago in a move to unlock value from its investments in the technology industry.

As of press time, Datatec shares were trading at R44 ($2.64) per share, 25 basis points lower than their opening price on the local bourse this morning, giving the group a valuation of R9.78 billion ($588 million).

Montanana’s position in the company is valued at R1.17 billion ($70.4 million).

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Zimbabwean exec Andrew Chimphondah-led Shelter Afrique recovers $5.7 million in troubled projects

Chimphondah is known for his successful business turnarounds.

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Zimbabwean senior executive Andrew Chimphondah.

Shelter Afrique, a pan-African housing financier led by Zimbabwean senior executive Andrew Chimphondah, announced that it recovered Ksh687.19 million ($5.7 million) from some of its troubled real estate projects in Kenya at the end of its 2021 fiscal year, which ended on Dec. 30, 2021.

The recovery is the result of efforts taken by Shelter Afrique’s management to put the financial institution on the path of sustainable growth and reduce its mounting non-performing loans.

Chimphondah was appointed managing director in September 2018.

“In 2021, the management sustained the recovery efforts anchored in the 2020-2023 board-approved non-performing loan management strategy,” Macharia Kihuro, special operations manager, said.

He went on to stated that the company has regularly reviewed the success and effectiveness of its non-performing loan management strategies through its special operations unit.

According to BusinessDaily, the housing financier earlier disclosed that it was able to recover collateral totaling Ksh533.7 million ($4.47 million), including 15 housing units in unnamed local projects, 11 apartments in Eden Beach Resort & Spa in Mombasa, and vacant land.

Beatrice Mburu, Shelter Afrique’s acting CFO, said earnings for the period were bolstered by $2.53 million in impairment recoveries from its $4.34 million investment in the Spring Green project in Kenya, which went bad, and the $4.47 million that it recovered from various Kenyan properties.

Shelter Afrique’s financial performance for the period represents a strategic turnaround for the institution.

Chimphondah, who has more than 20 years of leadership experience in real estate finance and retail and commercial banking, is known for his successful business turnarounds.

Last year, Zimbabwean executive led Shelter Afrique to an $11-million housing deal with the African Banking Corporation in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The housing loan, which is due in 2027, will be used to build 2,500 residential units, for mortgage origination, home extensions and improvements, and for affordable housing and commercial project lending.

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