Black ownership on the JSE on the rise

07 December 2012 - 02:19 By Alistair Anderson

BLACK South Africans hold at least 21% of the equity in the top 100 companies listed on the JSE, the stock exchange said yesterday in its annual report.

Trevor Chandler, of consultancy Chandler & Associates, headed the research team appointed by the JSE, announced the figure, adding that 21% of the available shares listed on the JSE had yet to be assessed.

Of the 21% owned by black individuals, 9% is held directly, mostly through empowerment stakes, and 12% through mandated investments such as pension funds and unit trusts.

"The research aims to demonstrate what black South Africans own in the country's largest listed corporations," Chandler said.

"Part of the 21% still to be analysed is likely to be owned by black South Africans."

But Nicholas Maweni, the Black Management Forum's managing director, and executive head of corporate affairs at Virgin Mobile, said the numbers were "unbelievable".

"I think blacks own less than 5% of the JSE. More information about individuals and black-owned companies that own such large amounts of the exchange must be released. We are in an economic downturn, yet we get these numbers suggesting much larger black ownership than in the past.

"When last did you see a big deal in South Africa involving black ownership," Maweni said.

Last year's assessment showed that black South Africans held slightly more than 8% of the top 100 companies through direct investment.

This year, researchers put the figure at 9%, and said blacks held a further 12% in these companies through pension funds and unit trusts.