Thebe lands another BEE deal

Thebe Investment Corporation has bagged another black economic empowerment (BEE) deal, this time with the local arm of speciality insurance broking firm, Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) South Africa.

The deal may be seen to be adding to the view that the appetite for BEE deals is far from over 18 years after South Africa became a democracy. While BEE deals seemed to be drying up after the 2008 financial crisis, they are coming back in drips and drabs and mainly at mid tier corporate level. Analysts are also pointing out that the BEE deal market was set for recovery as corporations rekindle deals from the first wave of empowerment.

Thebe has landed 20% of JLT’s South African operations and the operation is also selling a further 5% to its employees. The beneficiaries of the Trust will be both current and black employees.

JLT South Africa CEO Andrew Chislett, said the group embraced broad-based BEE as a key sustainability imperative.

“This is an important step in JLT’s commitment to genuine broad-based empowerment and we believe our partners share a long term commitment and will assist in developing value-added initiatives and synergies. For a young operation like JLT South Africa we see this as a huge endorsement from a high quality organisation that has shown a commitment to and belief in our operation and strategy. Thebe is an excellent partner who is highly regarded for their heritage and the important role they play in business in South Africa.”

Thebe Chairman Vusi Khanyile said “We are excited to be investing into a growing business and partnering with a strong management team, holding a clear sense of direction. Thebe has long been involved in the financial services sector, especially insurance through various businesses it has owned and partnered with over the years and the sector remains an important pillar to our overall growth strategy. We are excited about this transaction as it allows Thebe to regain an entrance into the insurance sector.

“Thebe not only shares a long-term commitment to the continuing growth of the business, but also a responsibility to socio economic upliftment in South Africa. We look forward to working closely with JLT and providing complementary expertise as well as driving further transformation in the business.”

Thebe will nominate 2 directors to the JLT South Africa board.  They will be imparting their experience in best practice and transformation based on involvement with the other companies in which Thebe is invested.

Over the past year, JLT South Africa has focused on extending its client base and developing its offering of providing speciality insurance broking and risk advisory services to large multinational businesses.  The South African office is currently launching a new Employee Benefits Consultancy Unit, headed by Rhys Edwards, ex CEO of NMG Consultants and Actuaries, which will provide significant additional opportunities for growth once its licence has been granted by the Financial Services Board (FSB).

JLT Risk and Insurance International Chairman Mark Drummond-Brady said “We are delighted to have concluded this transaction with such a respected organisation  – Thebe shares our views on the strategic benefits of long term collaboration with trusted partners, and they have an unequalled track record of 20 years of active and meaningful broad based investment across a wide range of sectors and industries in South Africa. JLT South Africa is committed to its empowerment and transformation objectives and this transaction is a key milestone in delivering on those objectives, which we see as not only our corporate responsibility but also as a key strategic enabler for all of our long term objectives in the territory.”


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