Ownership and Control
In July 2004, Absa became the first of the big banks to conclude a significant BEE transaction when it sold 10% of its equity, with full voting rights, to the Batho Bonke empowerment consortium, which is Broad-Based and extends over the entire spectrum of the empowerment landscape. An additional 1% of Absa’s equity was set aside for an Employee Share Ownership Programme.
Following the implementation of the Batho Bonke transaction, a broad-base of previously disadvantaged persons across the country’s nine provinces became the collective owners, with full voting rights of 73,1-million Absa shares, representing a 10% stake in the Absa Group. According to information supplied to Absa from Batho Bonke, more than 1.2-million previously disadvantaged people – nearly 2.6% of South Africa’s population – have benefited from Absa’s empowerment transaction. Participants comprise groups and individuals, including community trusts, women’s groups, BEE companies, stokvels, small and medium businesses and individuals with standing in the community.
Absa has always recognised that the growth of the South African economy largely depends on the extent to which historically disadvantaged South Africans participate meaningfully in the economy. For this reason, Absa has aimed and continues to aim to facilitate increased participation by enhancing its engagement with black people and black-owned companies as shareholders, customers, suppliers, employees and members of the community.