MultiChoice South Africa Holdings chairman Nolo Letele has said it would “absolutely make sense” to list the pay-television broadcaster on the JSE, but the requirement of its broadcasting licence that 30% of its equity be in black hands makes it difficult if not impossible to do so.
Letele said on Tuesday that MultiChoice seeking a JSE listing makes sense from an economic point of view. “But we are mandated to have not less than 30% black shareholding in MultiChoice,” he said. “It’s a condition of our licence.”
He explained that were the company to float its shares on the stock market, the company could not guarantee that its black shareholding would not fall below 30%, putting it in breach of its licence conditions. “And that’s a problem,” Letele said.
“It would make sense to list. It would be very much a decision of the shareholders, but it’s a no-brainer,” he added.
MultiChoice owns brands such as DStv, GOtv, SuperSport and M-Net.
At a media conference at the company’s Randburg headquarters on Tuesday, Letele said that its Phuthuma Nathi broad-based black economic empowerment scheme had performed spectacularly well since its launch ten years ago.
Phuthuma Nathi holds 20% of the equity in MultiChoice South Africa. When black shareholding in parent Naspers is factored in, approximately 40.8% of MultiChoice South Africa’s shareholding is now in black hands, Letele said.
Phuthuma Nathi has 89 856 black investors. Citing Empowerdex research, Letele said MultiChoice is the most empowered media company in South Africa, and the 12th most empowered overall.
Chairman of the scheme Mandla Langa said that it has been one of the most successful share schemes in the country. He said that R1 000 invested in the scheme ten years ago has translated into more than R20 000 today.
The scheme has paid total dividends to date of R6.5 billion. An additional dividend of R1.3 billion is expected for the 2016 financial year — subject to ratification at the MultiChoice annual general meeting — to take it to R7.8 billion.
Letele declined to comment on likely future dividends, saying the company doesn’t make such forward-looking statements.
But, he said, the business “is facing headwinds”.
“MultiChoice has performed very strongly against these headwinds. But the future you cannot predict.”
This article was first published on TechCentral. To access it, please click here.