Weba Chute Systems has successfully concluded a major empowerment deal with Hlanganani Capital that will see the company that pioneered the Weba Transfer Chute System for bulk materials handling in the mining industry gain further traction in Africa and other emerging markets such as South America. In addition to the empowerment deal, Weba Chute Systems has announced an overhaul of the company’s executive management structure that will see the eventual retirement of founder and Weba inventor Werner Baller. Farouk Abrahams from Hlanganani Capital becomes a director of Weba Chute Systems in order to boost the existing roles of Mark Baller as Managing Director and Alwin Nienaber as Operations Director.

“We wanted a partner that could bring value to the company. We shopped long and hard until we found this group,” Baller says. Hlanganani Capital is a black controlled private investment and advisory entity primarily focusing on arranging, participating in and managing private equity investments mainly in the mining, engineering and related service sectors. It focuses on delivering significant shareholder value through sound strategic investment practice while contributing to the transformation of the economy and society at large. Hlanganani Capital was established by Rowan Smith, Farouk Abrahams, Anton Millar and Olivier Barbeau with the strategy to invest on a partnership basis in a diversified portfolio that takes advantage of the growth prospects offered in sub-Saharan Africa.

The investment focus is on true private equity investment and then to focus with management on utilising a vast network including other investors to maximise the value of the investments for all stakeholders. In addition the focus is also on equity investments with a longer term investment horizon. “What we liked about the group is that it is very hands on,” Baller says. “While they do not partake in the day to day running of the company, they set up meetings with potential clients as well as bringing clients to the table. They are proactive and willing to dispense advice and want to help grow the business. They are keen to add value and not just reap the benefit.”

The empowerment deal followed the decision by Werner Baller, the original majority shareholder of Weba Chute Systems, to transform the company into a fully compliant Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) entity that also fulfils the obligations of the Mining Charter. “The plan is to take the company that my father nurtured over the years to the next level and to ensure that it will continue long into the future. Part of this succession planning has also involved finding the right partners to grow the company.” Baller reveals that Hlanganani Capital has already initiated discussions with potential South American partners. “I am negotiating with them to represent us in that particular emerging market. This is the type of value that Hlanganani Capital brings to the table.”

Baller adds that Weba Chute Systems is fully aware and supportive of the economic and social imperatives underpinning the Mining Charter and empowerment in general. “It is not just about the ownership structure but also about our corporate social responsibility and assisting other micro enterprises for the benefit of South Africa as a whole. This is why it took us a while to identify a suitable partner that could allow us to meet all of these obligations as well as ensuring the long term viability of the company.”

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