R289m payout for Oceana workers

Cape Town - Employees of South Africa's largest fishing company netted more than a quarter of a billion rand in a trust payout on Thursday.

"Oceana Group will pay out R289 million to employee beneficiaries of the Oceana Empowerment Trust," CEO Francois Kuttel announced in Cape Town.

The trust, established in 2006, is a share ownership scheme for black employees. It has an 11.7% stake in Oceana.

The trust is currently worth R1.2bn.

A total of 2650 beneficiaries, most of them living in the Western Cape and Northern Cape, will receive a pay-out.

"The payout will see workers receiving an average R100 000 [each] after tax," Oceana said in a statement.

Kuttel said his company took "the black-based part of BEE [black economic empowerment] very seriously".

Speaking at the event, Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson described the pay-out as a historic moment.

"I implore other companies to do the same... We are running out of time," she said.

Oceana Group is a 54.9% black-owned and controlled company. Its core business is catching, processing, marketing, and distributing canned fish, fishmeal, fish oil, lobster, horse mackerel, squid, and hake.

Principal shareholders in the company include Tiger Brands (41.9%) and Brimstone Investment Corporation (16.8%).

Oceana is listed on both the JSE and Namibian (NSX) securities exchanges.

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