News Column

Ramaphosa to divest ahead of big merger

May 27, 2014

Newly appointed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa would divest from Shanduka, the black investment firm he founded more than a decade ago, to avoid a conflict of interest with his government duties, the company said yesterday.

Shanduka, 25 percent-owned by China's sovereign wealth fund, also said it would merge with another prominent investment company, creating what is likely to be South Africa's largest black-owned private investment group.

Shanduka will merge with Pembani, a company controlled by former MTN chief executive Phuthuma Nhleko, to create a firm with R13.5 billion in gross asset value.

Shanduka, which means "change" in Venda, has stakes in Lonmin Plc, MTN Group and the local operations of McDonald's Corp.

Ramaphosa, pictured, founded |the company in 2001 after he left politics to pursue a career in business that has made him one of Africa's richest men.

A lawyer by training, Ramaphosa started in politics by building and heading the powerful National Union of Mineworkers - which played a critical role in toppling white minority rule in 1994.

He returned to politics in late 2012 when he was elected deputy president of the ruling ANC.

President Jacob Zuma on Sunday named him his deputy president, in a decision likely to go down well with investors and the private sector.

Since his return to politics, Ramaphosa has resigned from the boards of several major South African companies, including MTN and Standard Bank.

"This transaction is the culmination of a review of my business interests that I initiated soon after my election as ANC deputy president," Ramaphosa said in a statement.

"It enables me to leave Shanduka and eliminate any conflicts of interest," he said.

In addition to China's sovereign wealth fund, the other shareholders in Shanduka include Ramaphosa's family trust and Standard Bank.

His family's interests would be held in blind trusts in the interim, Ramaphosa said in a separate statement. - Reuters

Cape Argus

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Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)

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