Glass maker pledges black own­er­ship boost

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - BUSINESS - TNA RE­PORTER busi­ness@the­newage.co.za

SOUTH African glass bot­tle maker Con­sol aims to raise at least R3.5bn through an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing as it re­turns to the JSE.

Trade is ex­pected to com­mence on May 4 af­ter the firm was in the hands of pri­vate eq­uity groups for more than a decade, the com­pany said.

It pledged to open its doors for black peo­ple – in a way which many com­pa­nies listed on the JSE view as not be­ing a true friend of trans­for­ma­tion and em­pow­er­ment broadly.

Con­sol said it had es­tab­lished an em­ployee share own­er­ship pro­gramme (Esop) to bol­ster its broad­based black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment cre­den­tials and in­cen­tivis­ing and em­pow­er­ing qual­i­fy­ing em­ploy­ees.

The is­sue of Esop will be closely watch by trans­for­ma­tion agents given the lat­est “feud” be­tween global se­cu­rity gi­ant G4S and its em­ploy­ees.

Work­ers ac­cused the com­pany of hav­ing failed to pay 13% div­i­dends on shares promised to them and back­dated to 2005.

The G4S black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment-styled trust was es­tab­lished in 2005 and promised a 13% share own­er­ship to the work­ers.

But the scheme is yet to pay a cent to its ben­e­fi­cia­ries, which has pushed work­ers to ques­tion the scheme.

As a re­sult, as Con­sol is com­ing back home to list and promised Esop, ob­servers said this was go­ing to be watched closely and hope­fully would push other com­pa­nies into the same com­mit­ment to trans­for­ma­tion.

Con­sol will be listed on the in­dus­trial con­tain­ers and pack­ag­ing sec­tor of the main board of the stock ex­change op­er­ated by the JSE.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, it will trade un­der the ab­bre­vi­ated name Con­sol and the ini­tial in­dica­tive of­fer price range will be about R6.50 a share, cor­re­spond­ing to an ex­pected mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of be­tween R8bn and R9.8bn.

“The list­ing will al­low us to pur­sue our growth strat­egy in Africa and achieve our am­bi­tion of be­ing the first choice for glass pack­ag­ing sup­ply in Africa,” Con­sol CEO Mike Arnold, said.

Con­sol is the lead­ing glass pack­ag­ing man­u­fac­turer in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa by man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity, pro­vid­ing glass pack­ag­ing prod­ucts to cus­tomers in a va­ri­ety of in­dus­tries in­clud­ing beer, wine, flavoured al­co­holic bev­er­ages, non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages, spir­its and food.

The pack­ag­ing gi­ant, has op­er­a­tions in South Africa, Kenya and Nige­ria and ex­ports to 17 African ju­ris­dic­tions from its fa­cil­i­ties in South Africa and Kenya.

In ad­di­tion, Con­sol is con­struct­ing a new green­field fa­cil­ity in De­bre Birhan, Ethiopia.

The com­pany in­tends to achieve growth through con­tin­u­ing to drive prof­itable growth in south­ern Africa by re­tain­ing mar­ket share, in­vest­ing in its as­set base to im­prove prof­itabil­ity and grow­ing vol­umes by ben­e­fit­ing from the South African mar­ket’s vol­ume growth po­ten­tial of ap­prox­i­mately 3-4% a year.

PIC­TURE: GETTY IM­AGES

GLASS TRADE: Con­sol is re­turn­ing home with its sights set on rais­ing at least R8bn on the Johannesburg bourse to boost its cof­fers.

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