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Johannesburg - Basil Read is still in discussions about the potential private placement of shares that would result in the listed construction group becoming a black owned company.

The group on Thursday warned shareholders that if successfully concluded, the private placement might have a material effect on the price of the company’s shares.

Basil Read first published a cautionary announcement about these discussions in July last year. It has subsequently been renewed several times.

Neville Nicolau, the chief executive of Basil Read, said in March they were confident about concluding a deal that would result in the company becoming 51 percent black owned.
Basil Read was then already 18 percent black controlled.

Nicolau stressed Basil Read did not want a passive black economic empowerment (BEE) partner but for the new black shareholders to be involved in active management at all levels of the business.

The Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE), also in March, launched an aggressive attack on planned and pending transformation transactions in the construction sector flowing from the settlement agreement reached between the government and seven listed construction companies.

It claimed Basil Read remained “uncooperative and recalcitrant” and letters written to Nicolau had not even been acknowledged. Basil Read dismissed these claims, adding it had indicated to the BBCBE their willingness to engage.