Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments has sold Tegeta Exploration and Resources to Swiss-based Charles King SA for R2.97 billion, it announced on Wednesday.
This is the second sale announced by the Guptas this week. They announced on Monday that Oakbay would sell its media assets broadcaster ANN7 and The New Age newspaper to a firm set up in June by Mzwanele Manyi, a former government spokesperson.
Tegeta is at the centre of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report, which found irregularities in its dealings with Eskom. Brian Molefe stepped down as chief executive a result of the report in 2016.
The Guptas have been under increasing pressure as media houses publish leaked emails, dubbed Gupta Leaks, which have brought to light allegations of state capture. In addition, Parliament is currently investigating the Guptas, while the Special Investigation Unit has been tasked with investigating Eskom's coal tenders, which would probably focus on Tegeta's contracts. There is also Madonsela's judicial inquiry, which is yet to be implemented.
Tegeta bought Optimum from Glencore in 2016 for R2.15 billion in a deal shrouded in mystery. President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane was also a shareholder of Tegeta.
Tegeta owns Optimum, Koornfontein and the Optimum Coal Terminal.
Oakbay said in a statement that the firm “has recently seen a radical transformation in its fortunes”.
“Emerging from business rescue less than a year ago, the three businesses are now set on a sustainable and profitable trajectory.
“The sale is subject to regulatory requirements and the fulfilment of the conditions in the agreement, which are expected to be concluded within 12 months.
"Oakbay has stipulated that the purchaser safeguards employment in the mines. Additionally, the agreement has stipulated that the purchaser must have a minimum of 30% of the shares allocated to a black empowerment partner.
“The sale is part of Oakbay’s commitment to preserve jobs, provide certainty to more than 7 500 hard-working employees throughout the group and to safeguard the inherent value of the businesses in which they work.
“Under new ownership, Oakbay believes that the business and its employees will have the bright and prosperous future they deserve. The sale will also allow the shareholder the time to focus on clearing its name in the face of unfounded media allegations.”
Ronica Ragavan, acting Oakbay chief executive, said: “The sale of Tegeta represents a further step forward in delivering our strategy of preserving jobs by securing the future of the businesses we have developed and grown. Tegeta is a strong business and the Charles King company will be an excellent new owner. We wish both of them well for the future.”
Charles King SA owner Amin Al Zarooni said: “Opportunities in mining in South Africa are extremely attractive and we have been looking for a long time to invest in the Rainbow Nation. And once we have bought the business we will, of course, be looking for a black economic empowerment Partner. Mining is an excellent growth sector on the continent and with this acquisition, our expansion plans on the African continent kick starts.” - Fin24