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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
SA bank in black empowerment deal
Tokyo Sexwale
Tokyo Sexwale is the driving force of empowerment deals
South Africa's Absa bank is to sell a 10% stake worth $23m to a black-run investment consortium.

The move means the company will meet targets set by the country's Financial Services Charter, which came into effect this year.

Up to 14% of the company's shares are currently indirectly held by black South Africans, according to an independent survey.

The charter requires South African firms to be one-quarter black-owned.

Freedom fighter

Absa is the first leading South African bank to enter into a black-empowerment deal which will take the form of cash for shares.

Absa will give the Batho Bonke consortium around 73 million newly-created shares, which should equate to some 10% of the bank's equity.

It will also issue up to 7.3 million shares to an Absa employee share-ownership programme.

"Absa accordingly believes that meaningful black participation at all levels of the South African economy is a national priority in order to ensure sustainable socio-political, financial and economic stability for all," the bank said in a statement.

The consortium is led by a former freedom fighter Tokyo Sexwale, who was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela.

Mr Sexwale is one of the most vigorous paticipants in black-empowerment deals.

His firm, Mvelaphanda Resources, is South Africa's second-biggest black-owned mining company. He sits on the boards of a number of companies, including Absa.

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