Mvelaphanda Group, the once-iconic black economic empowerment investment firm now controlled by Blackstar Group, will be left with two big assets only - stakes in construction firm Group Five and in media operation Avusa - if the sale of Mvela’s largest asset, a 2.28% stake in Absa Bank, goes ahead.
Weekend reports that Mvela is divesting itself of its Absa share coincide with news that it has forfeited part of its stake in Northam Platinum to meet debt obligations.
Mvela has the shareholding in Absa through a 47% stake in Batho Bonke, an empowerment grouping that holds about R2.2-billion of the bank’s shares. In February Blackstar CE Andrew Bonamour reportedly said the group wanted to sell the shareholding in Absa, "to do something with Avusa". AIM and AltX-listed Blackstar acquired 28% of Mvela in January, becoming its single largest investor.
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Mvela indicated in 2009 it would start unbundling its assets to unlock value for its shareholders, after six years of deals to create what was once SA’s leading black empowerment company. This strategy saw it sell its remaining shares in listed outsourcing business services company Mvelaserve for R93.7-million, and its remaining interest in Life Healthcare in April for R328.1-million.
Mvela’s former chairman Tokyo Sexwale, now human settlements minister and punted as a presidential hopeful, no longer has a say in the running of Mvela. There was no indication yet what Mvela’s board might do with the proceeds of the Absa investment, Chris Vick, Batho Bonke spokesman said yesterday.
Mr Sexwale retains a shareholding in Batho Bonke through a trust. Batho Bonke has 1.2-million other black shareholders.
Absa’s share price rose 2.6% to R140.60 per share on the JSE on Friday. Absa’s share price was R92.40 on September 26 2005, a date that was used as a basis for Mvela’s purchase of R461m worth of Batho Bonke shares that year.
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