South African companies poured $5.1bn into offshore deals in 2017, accounting for 65.6% of sub-Saharan Africa’s outbound mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, according to Thomson Reuters data. This was more than double that of its closest competitor, Mauritius. Companies headquartered there accounted for 31.7% of the region’s M&A activity, Thomson Reuters reported in an investment banking analysis released on Tuesday. South African firms have increasingly pursued opportunities offshore as a stagnant economy and policy uncertainty hurt local growth prospects. Prominent deals in 2017 included FirstRand’s R19.4bn acquisition of UK bank Aldermore; Vodacom’s purchase of a 35% stake in Kenya’s Safaricom for R36.7bn; and Sibanye Gold’s acquisition of Stillwater Mining Company for R29bn. Despite this heightened activity, outbound M&A activity in sub-Saharan Africa declined 44% to $7.8bn. Inbound M&A, meanwhile, reached a three-year low of $14.4bn, with the US, the UK and Switzerland lea...

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