By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK The Old Mutual Group yesterday announced the biggest Black Economic Empowerment transaction ever in Namibia with a total value of N$307 million – making it 3.5 times bigger than the closest previous deal. The deal announced yesterday is relatively complex as it involves all three Namibian companies in the Old Mutual stable, being Old Mutual Namibia, Nedbank Namibia and Mutual & Federal Namibia. The empowerment transaction introduces black shareholders into the business through three separate but inter-dependent deals. Although the total value of the shares being transferred to BEE partners is N$307 million, the total cost to the beneficiaries will only be N$89.48 million – which according to Old Mutual represents 30% of full price. The end result is expected to be black ownership of 13.31% of Old Mutual, 11.13% of Nedbank Namibia Holdings and 11.42% in Mutual & Federal Namibia. Old Mutual Managing Director for African Operations, Johannes !Gawaxab, when making the announcement yesterday estimated the deal would directly benefit 785 black employees of the three companies in Namibia,. In total, however, there could be as many as 250 000 direct and indirect beneficiaries, according to !Gawaxab. The company says 48% of beneficiaries will be women, while black ownership of the Old Mutual Group businesses in Namibia will increase to 12.6%. The obviously delighted new shareholders include such well-known Namibian faces as Hosea Angula, Dr Tjama Tjivikua, Anne Gebhardt, Linnea Shaetonhodi, Norah Appolus, Ellen Musialela, and Michaela Hubschle. Others include lawyers Lucia Hamutenya, Patrick Kauta, Rogers Kauta, and Tjakazenga Hoveka. One group includes Immanuel Dumeni, Hilda Basson-Namundjebo and Sandra Tjitendero, plus many others. !Gawaxab was quick to point out that the Old Mutual Group’s BEE initiative is broad-based, unlike many other recent deals in which the same usual people keep appearing in every transaction. CEO of one of the new BEE partners, Latenda Investment’s Norah Appolus said it required a great deal of work from all concerned before the transaction could be finalised. “We are pleased about Old Mutual Plc’s commitment to empower blacks, and particularly women. I can safely say that this deal is not just window-dressing, because we will be actively involved in growing Old Mutual’s business,” she added. The new partners will acquire shareholding through listed shares, meaning Old Mutual Plc shares listed on the London Stock Exchange, and Nedbank and Mutual & Federal shares listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. A unique aspect of the Old Mutual BEE initiative is that participants will be expected to make a contribution to the growth of the group’s business through performance contracts. Through the performance contracts the new partners will be required to add value to the Old Mutual Group’s business by identifying black talent, introducing new clients and other performance measures. The beneficiaries include a wide variety of different BEE groups divided into different categories, and then into different individual empowerment companies. There are six different categories of empowerment participants, being staff 3.9%, Education Trust 2.07%, Distributors Trust 1.45%, Strategic Community Partners 0.93%, Strategic Business Partners 2.51% and Long-term Strategic Component 1.8%. The employee part of the transaction is divided into a Black Management Scheme and a Broad Based Scheme for those lower down the food chain. !Gawaxab said staff were included in the BEE initiative “as employees are key in terms of transformation of our businesses”. In addition to staff, a total of 11 different individual companies and community groups appear to be involved in the empowerment deal. These are Prudent Investments, Fox Investments, Northern Empowerment Investments, Latenda Investments and Ripanga Investments. A wide range of Namibian trade unions are also set to benefit in the form of an Education Trust whereby Old Mutual Group will put shares worth N$50 million in a trust for the unions. Through this Education Trust, Old Mutual hopes to fund the university education of 100 Namibians over the next 10 years. Churches such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church In Namibia (ELCIN), Evangelical Lutheran Church In The Republic Of Namibia (ELCRN), and the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) are also among the new shareholders. The ubiquitous Veronica De Klerk’s Women’s Action for Development is another beneficiary of the BEE transaction.
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