Guptas' Oakbay lifts veil on new Tegeta owner

Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, Gallo Images, City Press, file)
Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

Johannesburg - Tegeta Exploration and Resources' new owner is United Arab Emirates national Amin Al Zarooni, who wants to expand his growing business empire to South Africa.

Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments in a statement on Wednesday explained that Zarooni was "a leading businessman in the United Arab Emirates and a highly respected and active participant in global private equity markets. As such he is involved with various commodity businesses around the world". 

Oakbay sold Tegeta to Swiss-based Charles King SA for R2.97bn, it announced on Wednesday morning.

Zarooni’s businesses, according to Oakbay include a number of joint ventures with French firms. Included are Arep Ville Abu Dhabi in a joint venture with Arep Group France, Egis Emirates Abu Dhabi in a joint venture with Egis Industries France, Nepteam Middle East, a joint venture with Nepteam France and Gimaex – One Seven, a joint venture with Gimaex International. Its portfolio also comprises Golden Triangle Investment, Jaffar Al Zarooni Real Estate and Triangle Business Connection.

Oakbay also explained that Charles King SA itself was a "special purpose vehicle" acquired by Zarooni to facilitate further investments like Tegeta’s Optimum Coal, Koornfontein and Optimum Coal Terminal acquisition.

This was after Swiss documents revealed that Charles King started six years ago and specialised in finance, untill it changed its mandate in June to become an investment company.

In a veiled reference to the sale, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament on Wednesday that he is "getting SMSs now telling me the Swiss buyer of Tegeta Resources has an interest in fashion, clothing articles and shoes. So something strange is going on".

READ: Gordhan calls for urgency on state capture probe as Guptas dump assets

At first glance, Charles King seems to have over-extended itself with the purchase price of R2.97bn for Tegeta. Documents filed in 2001 show Charles King has a capitalisation of R1.36m (Sf100 000).

But if Zarooni bought Charles King as an investment vehicle, he would have recaptilised the business before venturing to southern-African shores. 

The registration documents said the purpose of Charles King is the creation, manufacture, distribution and international distribution of any product and the holding of interests in industrial and commercial companies.

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