De Beers’ unshakeable faith in empowerment partner


Who can blame multinationals with money to burn for being guarded in their involvement in BEE deals? The economy is not in the best shape.

However, defiantly, through its sales arm, De Beers has entered into a new deal with Ponahalo Holdings, perhaps living up to its slogan: “Diamonds are forever’”.

The global economic crisis put a spanner in the works of the first deal which was sealed in 2006. Then, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the South African arm of diamond mining group De Beers, sold a 26% stake in the company to Ponahalo Holdings for R3.7 billion.

DBCM chairperson, Barend Petersen, commented: “Our investment in DBCM as a result of the global economic crisis diminished below the value of the loan [as part of the deal].”

Created specifically to hold a stake in De Beers, Ponahalo holdings has about 15 000 past and present employees of De Beers as beneficiaries as well as other trusts.

As part of the deal, Ponahalo will also hold 26% of De Beers Sightholder Sales SA, which is the sales arm of De Beers. Sales SA generates a great deal of cash, which Ponahalo urgently needs.

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