Wiphold has 25.1% stake now in Sas­fin

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Kabelo Khu­malo

WOMEN’S In­vest­ment Port­fo­lio Hold­ings (Wiphold), yes­ter­day con­cluded its sec­ond foray into the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor af­ter it bought a 25.1 per­cent stake in JSE listed spe­cialised banker Sas­fin for R413 mil­lion.

The com­pany cur­rently has a stake in Old Mu­tual and Ned­bank, re­spec­tively.

Sas­fin chief ex­ec­u­tive Roland Sas­soon said the trans­ac­tion un­der­scored Sas­fin’s com­mit­ment to trans­for­ma­tion and would re­sult in Sas­fin hav­ing the high­est black eq­uity own­er­ship of any JSE-listed bank­ing group.

“We be­lieve this trans­ac­tion places Sas­fin in a strong po­si­tion to be­come a far more mean­ing­ful player in many of our ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Wiphold is highly re­puted and has ex­pe­ri­ence in bank­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vices, hav­ing been own­ers of, and part­ners to a num­ber of well-known fi­nan­cial ser­vices con­cerns,” Sas­soon said.

Un­der the terms of the Broad-Based Black Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment (B-BBEE) Wiphold SPV, a wholly-owned sub­sidiary of Wiphold, will sub­scribe to 8.1m shares in Sas­fin.

The com­pa­nies have also agreed that Wiphold will pro­vide Sas­fin with ser­vices re­lat­ing to pro­mot­ing and grow­ing Sas­fin busi­ness, par­tic­u­larly in the area of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

Sas­fin said it would re­turn the pro­ceeds of the sub­scrip­tion to share­hold­ers through a vol­un­tary re­pur­chase of shares that equate to R51 per Sas­fin share.

Sas­fin said the lock-in pe­riod for the trans­ac­tion was seven years and was sub­ject to reg­u­la­tory ap­provals.

Agree­ment

“Sub­ject to the fi­nal agree­ment be­tween Wiphold SPV and the South African Regis­trar of Banks, Wiphold SPV will un­der­take to be­come a share­holder of ref­er­ence dur­ing the Lock-in Pe­riod and so long as its share­hold­ing in Sas­fin rep­re­sents 15 per­cent or more of all is­sued Sas­fin share cap­i­tal,” the com­pany said.

The deal is a sec­ond em­pow­er­ment deal Sas­fin has un­der­taken – in 2005 it sold 10 per­cent of its bank­ing unit, Sas­fin Bank to In­noVent in a deal val­ued at R66.7m.

The fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor has in re­cent times been on the re­ceiv­ing end of calls for the sec­tor to trans­form and have more black own­er­ship.

Ear­lier this year, the Na­tional Em­pow­er­ment Fund (NEF) told par­lia­ment’s stand­ing com­mit­tee on fi­nance that R246 bil­lion would be needed to achieve 25 per­cent black own­er­ship tar­get in the sec­tor as de­manded by broad-based black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment codes.

The NEF said this fig­ure was cal­cu­lated us­ing the top 17 listed fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies on the JSE.

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