Slow go­ing

End of an era for Mve­laphanda

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - LLEWELLYN JONES

THE EASTER SCHOOL HOL­I­DAYS al­ways guar­an­tee a small turnout for our direc­tors’ deal­ings re­port. That may lead to the sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that it could, in fact, be ju­ve­niles and teenagers who are ac­tu­ally pulling the strings of cor­po­rate South Africa. Them and the mort­gage. But one in­ter­est­ing snip­pet that caught our eye last week was the news that John Moxon had re­signed from the board of the Mve­laphanda Group. For most peo­ple that will prob­a­bly il­licit the re­sponse: “Who’s he?” – a sen­ti­ment with which we cer­tainly sym­pa­thise. He’s most of­ten de­scribed by busi­ness ac­quain­tances as a very “private” in­di­vid­ual. Recluse is more like it.

When this re­porter called the then Reb­hold Group to re­quest an in­ter­view with Moxon in the mid-Nineties, I was told quite bluntly that he didn’t give in­ter­views and didn’t want his pic­ture taken.

Moxon is bet­ter known in Zim­babwe, where he’s the con­trol­ling share­holder of the Meik­les group, one of Zim­babwe’s largest cor­po­rate en­ter­prises. Meik­les has in­ter­ests in bank­ing (it owns 33% of King­dom Fi­nan­cial Hold­ings), ho­tels (in­clud­ing 50% of the Cape Grace Ho­tel at the V&A Wa­ter­front in Cape Town) and the re­tail sec­tor.

The only per­sonal in­for­ma­tion the Meik­les web­site gives about Moxon is that he’s a char­tered ac­coun­tant and that he re­ceived an MBA from the Univer­sity of Cape Town.

Mve­laphanda is com­ing to the end of an era with Moxon’s de­par­ture from the group.

He was one of the key fig­ures in es­tab­lish­ing Reb­hold (the fore­run­ner to Mve­laphanda), es­sen­tially pro­vid­ing the fi­nan­cial where­withal to Stephen Leven­berg, Mackie Brodie and Jac­ques Kem­pen to buy con­trol of Rebel from Jan Pi­card in the Nineties and de­velop it into an in­dus­trial ser­vices busi­ness.

Back then, Reb­hold was touted as the ve­hi­cle for Moxon’s ex­pan­sion in SA. Reb­hold was listed in 1996 and later merged with Cyril Ramaphosa’s Mo­lope Group in 1999 to be­come Reb­serve. It mor­phed into the Mve­laphanda Group in 2004, when it merged with Tokyo Sexwale’s busi­ness in­ter­ests.

Leven­berg, the out­go­ing CEO of Mve­laphanda, says that one of the rea­sons for Moxon’s res­ig­na­tion is that the Meik­les Group has plans to ex­tend its busi­ness in­ter­ests in SA and he be­lieved it was good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance to re­sign.

How­ever, you also get the feel­ing that Moxon is leav­ing be­cause the busi­ness has de­vel­oped a life of its own be­yond the origi- nal part­ners, who have now all moved on. It’s sim­ply the end of an era.

Good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance. Stephen Leven­berg


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