South Africa miners to give up 26% of equity

By Saeed Shah
Saturday 18 January 2014 02:27
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The South African government plans to force the country's mining companies to hand over 26 per cent of the industry to black-owned businesses within 10 years.

The proposal, contained in the Mining Charter, published in final form yesterday, does not go as far as an earlier leak of the document, which suggested that 51 per cent of the industry be handed over to black-owned businesses.

Since that leak, the white-dominated mining industry, led by the biggest player, Anglo American, has lobbied to get the redistribution of assets watered down, and the sector welcomed the final proposal yesterday.

Not only has the quantity of assets that must be transferred been reduced, but the Charter now makes clear that the assets will go to blacks on a "fair value" basis. It was feared after the initial leak that mining companies may be forced to give assets away. However, fair value may not always be the same as "market" value.

The South African mining giant said: "Anglo American believes that the broad-based Empowerment Charter is a practical approach to achieving transformation in a way that marries the requirements of international competitiveness and the interests of the existing investors in companies, with the commitment by all stakeholders to promote a more inclusive industry."

The government also insisted thatcompanies must help finance the 100bn rand (£6bn) needed so that blacks can buy 15 per cent of the industry in the next five years. The industry will not provide the money but it must guarantee the loans, which will come from banks.

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