Harare — Transnet is hunting for deals across the continent, from Senegal to Zimbabwe.

The national port and freight-rail operator had drawn up a list of 18 African nations where it wanted to do business and was targeting at least five transactions in 2018, said Petrus Fusi, general manager for cross-border strategy.

The state-owned company was also looking for opportunities in the Middle East, India and South Asia and wanted to boost revenue by more than half to R100bn, group executive for strategy Khaya Ngema said in the same interview.

Transnet is seeking to expand outside SA and diversify beyond its traditional business of bulk commodities. The company, which already operates in other African countries including Mozambique and Botswana, set aside R20bn for acquisitions and could get as much as 25% of its revenue from outside SA within six years, CEO Siyabonga Gama said in 2016.

"We want to move the company from a R60bn company to a R100bn company in the next three to four years," Ngema said last week.

The company had several deals already in the works, including the purchases of stakes in a car terminal and multipurpose terminal at the port of Maputo, in Mozambique, which had been approved by its board and await ministerial approval, Fusi said.

In Zimbabwe, the company and a South African-based consortium of Zimbabwean investors residing abroad won a contract to recapitalise the struggling National Railways of Zimbabwe. The idea was that the partnership developed into a long-term joint venture between Transnet and NRZ, Fusi said.

Elsewhere in the world, the company has plans for a trip to Saudi Arabia within the next couple of months and is also looking in Oman, in addition to India and Indonesia.

"The Middle East presents huge opportunities for infrastructure development, in particular rail," said Fusi.