26 March 2008
South African petrochemical company Sasol this week announced the final terms of a broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) deal which, if approved, will see 10% of the company’s shares, currently worth approximately R26-billion, placed under ownership of previously disadvantaged individuals and groups.
“Sasol is truly committed to South Africa’s transformation and wants to make broad-based economic empowerment a reality,” Sasol CEO Pat Davies said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We will make a difference by creating significant economic opportunity for more than one million potential beneficiaries ranging from individuals to rural women’s groups who can invest in Sasol.”
In terms of the transaction, 3% of shares will be transferred to black South Africans, 1.5% to selected BEE groups, 4% to Sasol employees and 1.5% to the Sasol Inzalo Foundation.
Sasol said it was working with the National Empowerment Fund to identify ways of reaching as many black South Africans as possible, especially those in lower income groups.
The black public invitation is designed to meet the needs of different investors through two invitations, one being funded where a small cash contribution is required and one being a cash purchase alternative, with both accommodating investors ranging from individuals, companies, partnerships or trusts, to informal groups such as stokvels, church groups and families.
“Sasol has set itself the goal of reaching as many people as possible and hopes that anywhere from 100 000 to 200 000 shareholders will participate through this invitation,” Davies said.
Selected BEE groups fall into two categories: those currently involved in Sasol’s business as suppliers, customers, franchisees and unions; as well as groups focusing on broader empowerment objectives such as community upliftment projects and women’s groups.
A comprehensive process to identify appropriate partners for this category is nearing completion, with 86 BEE groups having already accepted an invitation to participate.
When the transaction was first announced in September 2007, the company said it would target communities near its operations in Sasolburg and Secunda, as well as women’s groups as beneficiaries of the empowerment deal.
The deal will benefit almost 27 000 Sasol employees, 60% of whom are black, while the Sasol Foundation will be created to contribute to growing South Africa’s skills particularly in science and technology.
“This Foundation is an extension of Sasol’s long-standing tradition of giving back to the community through, among others, artisan training programmes, bursaries, co-operation agreements with tertiary institutions and other sponsorships,” said Sasol Executive Director Nolitha Fakude.
Sasol added that its commitment to broad-based BEE was already evident in other initiatives throughout the group, ranging from significant equity ownership transactions at subsidiaries such as Sasol Oil and Sasol Mining.
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