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Aug 31, 2007

Barloworld says it is well advanced with empowerment for its SA units

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Africa|Business|Concrete|Industrial|Africa|Equipment|Logistics
Africa|Business|Concrete|Industrial|Africa|Equipment|Logistics
africa-company|business|concrete|industrial|africa|equipment|logistics
Industrial group Barloworld, which has come in for heavy criticism over a perceived lack of urgency regarding empowerment and transformation, says it is positioning itself to be an industry leader on both fronts.

“Personally, this is a key strategic business imperative and we have already made headway along this trail. The Barloworld black economic-empowerment (BEE) deal will be implemented at holding company level after the coatings business is listed on the JSE,” CE Clive Thomson said during a Barloworld media site visit last week.

He added that the deal had to wait because “only then will the Barloworld group have a clean share price on which to base the BEE transaction”.

“We are at an advanced stage in the process and we have already identified black partners in our motor and equipment businesses and we already have an existing partner on the logistics side.”

The company has also identified strategic equity partners that will be brought into the transaction, which will include employees from South Africa, as well as current and future black management.

“I am convinced that this will be a leading transaction in the industry and will provide Barloworld with a 25%-plus equity empowerment structure. “We are also not only focused on meeting the minimum requirement of the BEE codes, but will make sure that we lead in corporate transformation in the country,” affirmed Thomson.

The company appointed Isaac Shongwe as an executive director on the Barloworld board.

“I have tasked Shongwe with putting forward a concrete plan in terms of our transformation pro-cess within the group. “We believe that once we implement our broad-based BEE equity transaction, we will be classified as a level five contributor to BEE. “And we aim to improve on that thereafter. “This will position us among the top listed companies on the JSE in terms of our empowerment and transformation credentials.”

The company has also appointed two black executives, Dominic Sewela, as the CEO of the South African equipment business, and Sibani Mngomezulu, as the head of investor relations and corporate affairs.

“Between Sewela and Shongwe, there will be over R600-million of the group’s operating profit, which is directly under their accountability and responsibility. “Our goal is to also recruit an additional black executive to join our executive committee, and an announcement will be made shortly.”

The company has also made good progress with regard to an enterprise development fund called Barloworld Siyakhula, through which the company intends to allocate R20-million a year to fund emerging black businesses in South Africa.

“We already have 708 parties which have been identified and funded by way of loan and equity contribution and the intention is that companies get up to speed to establish themselves to repay the loans, which will be used to fund other new emerging black entrepreneurs in the country. “I am very confident that we will position ourselves at the leading edge of enterprise development in South Africa,” concluded Thomson.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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