Standard Bank awards shares to 250 black-owned small businesses

Thomas McLachlan

Thomas McLachlan

Zimasa Kunene owns a small funeral and cater-hire service, Terra Kunene Estates, based in Butterworth. Her business was awarded 40 000 Standard Bank shares yesterday as part of the bank's empowerment initiative, adding R1,7 million net value to her business and 250 others.

"We looked for small and medium businesses that were sustainable and would exist for the next few years," said Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank chief executive for personal and business banking.

In January the bank embarked on a nationwide search for the 250 black-owned, small and medium enterprises eligible for 10 million Standard Bank shares owned by the Tutuwa Community Trust.

This trust was formed as one of the components of the broad based grouping of black entities that acquired an effective 10percent interest in Standard Bank's South African operations, announced in 2004.

The shares, which were bought at the time of the announcement, have almost doubled in value since then and are worth R850 million.

Tshabalala said the financing would be driven by a loan, which would be serviced through Standard Bank dividends. He said the shares would be locked in until 2014, both to ensure that the loan would be paid off as well as to retain black ownership until this period.

"It's a welcome relief because we can use most of the revenue to grow the business with the knowledge that come 2014 there's something to fall back on," Kunene said.