Vox BEE shareholding rises to 41%

Johannesburg, 08 Nov 2007

Four different transactions have seen communications solutions provider Vox Telecoms' black economic empowerment (BEE) shareholding rise to 41.5%.

Yesterday, the Mvelaphanda Group (Mvela) announced it had bought a total of 12.3% of Vox, through two different deals.

Mvela bought 110 million shares in the company directly, while also acquiring 27.5 million shares through a separate agreement with Vantage Capital.

In addition, Regiments Capital, an independent BEE services and investment company, acquired 4.2% of Vox's enlarged shareholding.

The Lerato Metier Capital Growth Fund also increased its 19.2% shareholding by 4.2%, to 23.4%.

The Mvela, Regiment and Lerato shares, combined with an existing BEE shareholding of about 2.5% held by Thembeka, brings Vox's total BEE equity levels to about 41.5%.

All of the BEE deals are subject to Vox's acquisitions of Storm Telecoms and Absa Internet Access going through.

Mvela spokesman Johannes van Niekerk says, while the company is looking to increase its shareholding in Vox, this forms part of its greater growth strategy and it has not set any specific Vox targets.

"The five sectors we believe will outperform in the medium- to long-term are financial services, consumer services, construction and building, non-mining sectors, and telecoms and media," says Van Niekerk. "We realised that we were under-represented in the communications sector, so we will continue to look for opportunities, but it will be a cautious approach."

Still in control

The management and staff of Vox hold 26% of the company's shares, with a variety of investment companies holding the balance.

Vox executive chairman Tony van Marken does not, however, feel the company could lose strategic direction through a BEE power-grab.

"We have a very good working relationship with our BEE partners and we are more than comfortable with our future working relationship," says Van Marken.

"We want to expand domestically and in SADC [the Southern Africa Development Community] and for that you need good partners, specifically black partners."

Vox hopes to be better placed to land more corporate and government contracts through its BEE shareholding.

The company's share price rose 4% on the announcement of the transactions, to close at R240 yesterday.

Related stories:
Vox confirms Storm buy
Vox to buy Absa Internet Access
Vox Telecom improves earnings