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SA’s richest man buys stake in diamond mine

Aug 08 2016 13:28
Paul Burkhardt and Kevin Crowley

Johannsburg - Christo Wiese, South Africa’s richest man, has formed a consortium of investors who plan to take control of Trans Hex Group, a diamond miner based in Cape Town.

Cream Magenta 140 Proprietary and Metcap 14 Proprietary, both backed by the Wiese family, bought a 47% stake in the company and will form a consortium with RECM & Calibre, which owns 25%, Piet Viljoen, a director of RECM & Calibre, said by phone on Monday.

The consortium controlling 72% of Trans Hex will make an offer to buy the remainder of the company from minority shareholders later on Monday, Viljoen said. The company’s shares were halted from trading on August 5 pending the offer.

“Together we can hopefully add value to Trans Hex over time,” Viljoen said. “It might take some capital but Trans Hex now has strong shareholders with capital.”

Wiese is the chairperson of the nation’s biggest retailer, Shoprite, and has a net worth of about $7.4bn (R101.29bn), making him the world’s 168th richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His personal assistant said he wasn’t available to comment.

A native of South Africa’s arid Northern Cape province, Wiese began working at discounter Pep Stores and, after an interlude in diamond mining, returned as chairperson in 1980.

He agreed to sell the business for $5.7bn in 2014. He has made investments in the UK such as clothing retailer New Look and gym chain Virgin Active.

He is also the largest shareholder of Steinhoff, which announced on Monday it had agreed to buy US Mattress Firm Holding for about $2.4bn (R32.88bn), a deal that vaults the South African discount retailer into the US market while creating the world’s largest bedding giant.

READ: Steinhoff to buy US mattress firm for almost R33 billion

Steinhoff, which has 2 300 stores, last month announced a deal to buy 900-store UK discount chain Poundland Group for £597m (R10.7bn).

READ: Steinhoff agrees to buy UK discount store Poundland for R11.4bn

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steinhoff  |  christo wiese  |  mining
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