Mvela CEO smoothes his way out

Leven­berg sells 80% of shares

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - LLEWELLYN JONES

MVE­LAPHANDA GROUP CEO Stephen Leven­berg fur­ther loos­ened his ties to the in­vest­ment group last week when he off­loaded stock worth an­other R38,9m. Leven­berg an­nounced in De­cem­ber 2006 that in June this year he’d be leav­ing the group he helped es­tab­lish. His suc­ces­sor is Yolanda Cuba, who at 29 will head one of South Africa’s most suc­cess­ful em­pow­er­ment com­pa­nies so far.

Ac­cord­ing to the group’s an­nual re­port, Leven­berg held 11,8m shares at the June year-end. He be­gan liq­ui­dat­ing his hold­ings in Septem­ber last year, when he sold stock worth R11m, fol­lowed by the sale of an­other R46,8m worth in De­cem­ber, when he an­nounced his de­par­ture. To­gether with the latest sale, his dis­pos­als to­tal R96,7m and rep­re­sent around 80% of the stock he held at the June 2006 year-end.

Leven­berg says the sales rep­re­sent a longterm di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and re­align­ment of his port­fo­lio, al­low­ing him to re­alise cap­i­tal to “ap­ply in his new en­deav­ours”.

Leven­berg was one of the found­ing part­ners of the in­dus­trial ser­vices group Reb­hold, which listed on the JSE in 1996. Reb­hold’s in­ter­ests ranged from cater­ing to cash se­cu­rity. It mor­phed into Reb­serve when it merged with Cyril Ramaphosa’s Mo­lope Group in 1999. The com­pany emerged in its latest guise – es­sen­tially as an in­vest­ment hold­ing com­pany – in 2004, when it merged with Tokyo Sexwale’s Mve­laphanda Group.

Be­fore found­ing Reb­serve, Leven­berg was a se­nior part­ner and head of cor­po­rate law at Werks­mans At­tor­neys, hav­ing gained ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in cor­po­rate fi­nance, merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions and other trans­ac­tions.

Also in­ter­est­ing last week was to see MTN CEO Phutuma Nh­leko hedg­ing a por­tion of the po­si­tion he took in the mo­bile op­er­a­tor’s stock in June last year. Back then, Nh­leko en­tered into a for­ward buy­ing deal to ac­quire stock worth R265m at R63,97/share in Novem­ber this year.

Now Nh­leko ap­pears to have de­cided to lock in the profit on about a quar­ter of his to­tal po­si­tion through a zero-cost col­lar. The ques­tion for traders to de­cide is whether that means Nh­leko sees volatile con­di­tions ahead?


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