Vodacom. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Johannesburg - The Public Investment Corporation, which manages the bulk of the pension money of South African government workers, is in talks with various black investors who are seeking to buy a stake in Vodacom Group, PIC Chief Executive Officer Dan Matjila said.
The government last year sold its 14% stake in Johannesburg-based Vodacom, the largest wireless operator in South Africa, for about R25bn ($1.8bn) to raise funds for its power utility.
A sale of some of the PIC shares to black investors would help boost the mobile-phone company’s diversity profile. This would help the company meet South Africa’s push for increased black ownership of industries to address the legacy of whites-only rule that deprived the black majority of economic opportunities.
“We’d be happy if the shares are in the hands of black investors,” Matjila said. “It will enhance the transformation profile of Vodacom.”
Some of the black investor groups are raising money, while others have asked the PIC to finance them, he said, declining to give further details. The PIC has R1.85trn in assets, of which 88% comes from the Government Employees Pension Fund.
Romeo Kumalo, the former chief operating officer of Vodacom’s international operations, is part of a black economic empowerment group bidding to buy a portion of the mobile-phone company, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported on Friday, citing three unidentified people familiar with the transaction.