YeboYethu seeks shareholders to collect unclaimed dividends
Vodacom’s YeboYethu black economic empowerment (BEE) scheme is looking for 12 000 shareholders whose R73 million in unclaimed dividends remain locked up in the company’s bank.
In a statement, the administrators of the scheme say they have been unable to pay over the dividends owing to shareholders not updating their contact details on a regular basis.
The unclaimed dividends date back to 2014, with the largest amounts relating to the special dividend that was declared in 2018.
YeboYethu says attempts to trace the 12 000 shareholders through a third-party have been unsuccessful.
“For instance, 11 617 calls were made, 4 926 calls were unanswered and only 891 shareholders were successfully contacted. The scheme has 84 496 shareholders and has paid over R66 million in dividends to 72 454 shareholders through its service provider, Link Investor Services, from August 2016 to date,” says the scheme.
Vodacom’s R7.5 billion BEE transaction was established in 2008 and was touted as the largest such deal to date in the telecommunications sector.
The empowerment transaction benefitted a significant number of black investors and close to 8 500 current and past employees.
YeboYethu issued 14.4 million YeboYethu ordinary shares at R25 each and as a result of the public offer, approximately 102 000 qualifying black investors bought a stake in Vodacom SA.
Through a new BEE deal concluded in June 2018, YeboYethu now holds a 6.23% stake in Vodacom group worth R13.4 billion.
The deal structure involved the coming together of the combined interests of Vodacom’s existing BEE partners (Royal Bafokeng Holdings, Thebe Investment Corporation and YeboYethu) with a newly formed employee stock ownership plan.
Now, the scheme says with the growing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unclaimed dividends could help those shareholders impacted by the virus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of economic devastation and left many with no income, and it remains our view that unclaimed dividends could be used by many to provide relief during these tough financial times,” says Zarina Bassa, chairman of YeboYethu.
“We launched YeboYethu with the intent of empowering the black majority masses of our country that were marginalised from participating in the mainstream of the economy by investing in Vodacom, a successful SA telco. The scheme has performed well under tough economic conditions and in some instances providing shareholders with market-beating returns. It worries us that we are sitting with millions of rands in unclaimed dividends at a time like this.”
According to Bassa, the scheme’s service provider “can only pay over dividends to shareholders once they have your correct details. Therefore, we would like to appeal to members of the public to help us spread the word. If you know someone that is a YeboYethu shareholder and has not received their dividends from 2014, please contact us and help them get their fair share of the dividends.”
To update their details, YeboYethu shareholders need to contact the scheme’s call centre and they need to have their ID book, bank confirmation letter or bank-stamped bank statement and proof of physical address.