Ajay Gupta says the deal is yet to be approved by the company’s shareholders. “No money has been made yet. I believe personally that this deal is not happening.”
He pins this statement on the fact that the Ayigobi transaction has not been presented to the company’s shareholders. “If it was happening, it would have already been taken to the shareholders,” he says.
Asked about a potential conflict with him advising on and benefiting from the transaction, Ajay replies by saying it was unfair to call him a “transaction adviser”.
“He (ArcelorMittal chairperson Lakshmi Mittal) asks me, when he does these BEE deals, as a friend, it’s nothing official to do with ArcelorMittal South Africa. I’ve never even met the company’s CEO or anyone in the company.”
Ajay says he knows Lakshmi Mittal “very well” and Mittal told him “many times” that he wanted to do a deal.
While Mittal was “finalising” the deal, he asked Ajay again for a “new entrant”, to which he replied: “This is the group, why don’t you take it to them? I recommended Dudu (Duduzane Zuma) also.”
In exchange for the $50-million funding he (Ajay) provided, he asked for a stake in the consortium.
Of the 26% BEE stake in ArcelorMittal, 10.5% would go to Imperial Crown Trading (Parekh’s company, which he declined to discuss during the interview); 5% to ArcelorMittal employees; 5.25% to another BEE grouping that pulled out; and the majority of the remaining 5.25% would be split between the Guptas, Duduzane Zuma and businessman Sandile Zungu.
Ajay puts a total value of $150 million (about R1 billion) on the deal. After five years, Zuma Jnr’s company would get $2.5 million (about R18 million) and the Guptas $1.5 million (about R11 million).