Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments announced on Wednesday that it was selling its mining business Tegeta Exploration and Resources‚ as the controversial family faces growing pressure over allegations of state capture.
Tegeta has been at the centre of the allegations‚ which have implicated executives at state power utility Eskom. Oakbay said the mining assets would be sold to Swiss-based Charles King SA for R2.97 billion.
The Tegeta deal follows a day after Oakbay said it was selling its media assets to Mzwanele Manyi‚ a staunch supporter‚ for R450 million.
“The sale is part of Oakbay’s commitment to preserve jobs‚ provide certainty to over 7500 hard-working employees throughout the Group and to safeguard the inherent value of the businesses in which they work‚” Oakbay said in a statement.
“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.”
Tegeta is made up of Optimum‚ Koornfontein and the Optimum Coal Terminal‚ which has recently seen a “radical transformation in its fortunes”‚ Oakbay said.
Tegeta bought Optimum in 2015 from global giant Glencore‚ but the Guptas have been accused of using their government influence to gain access to the mine in order to score lucrative Eskom tenders.
These allegations form part of thousands of leaked emails that have emerged this year‚ highlighting the Guptas’ wide network of influence in government circles.
Oakbay said the Tegeta sale is expected to be wrapped up in 12 months.
“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 company said.
Amin Al Zarooni‚ the owner of Charles King SA‚ 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.”
Oakbay on Monday revealed plans to sell its shareholding in Infinity Media‚ which runs ANN7 TV news‚ for R300-million. Its two-thirds stake in TNA Media‚ the publisher of The New Age newspaper‚ will be sold for R150-million.