African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI), the investment group controlled by Iqbal Survé’s Sekunjalo Group, has told Britain’s BT Group that it can’t exercise a call option to terminate its agreements with the company.
This comes a week after BT — formerly British Telecom — said it would terminate its relationship with Sekunjalo. The UK firm said it made the decision after what it called the “misrepresentation of facts to parliament’s standing committee on finance made by representatives of Sekunjalo Group”.
“We are in the process of terminating all relationships with the Sekunjalo group of companies. We remain committed to the South African market and supporting our customers here and the spirit and purpose of South Africa’s black economic empowerment (policies),” the BT spokeswoman said. “BT will be exploring alternative options to meet its black economy empowerment obligations.”
Now, though, AEEI has thrown a spanner in the works, saying BT may not exercise a call option as the right conditions have not been triggered to do so.
AEEI is an indirect shareholder in BT Communications Services South Africa through its 100% shareholding in Kilomix Investments, which owns 30% of BT in South Africa.
“AEEI has been a shareholder of BTSA since 2008 and has played an important role in BTSA having and maintaining its Icasa licence,” AEEI said in a statement on Wednesday. “We have also enjoyed an excellent relationship with BTSA during this time. BTSA has engaged with AEEI and other members of the Sekunjalo Group and on an SLA (service-level agreement) basis with other subsidiaries within the greater group.”
No further comment
“AEEI has today accordingly informed BT that it denies that the call option is capable of being exercised. AEEI will make no further media statements on this investment and will deal with BTSA shareholding through its board of directors on BTSA and with its co-shareholder BT,” it said.
Approached for comment on Wednesday, BT declined to comment specifically on AEEI’s claim about the call option. “BT has initiated the process of terminating its relationship with the Sekunjalo Group. BT will be exploring alternative options to meet its BEE and licensing obligations,” a London-based company spokesman said in an e-mail. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media
Duncan McLeod is Editor of TechCentral, on which this article was first published here.