Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
JOHANNESBURG - Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited, a black controlled and managed investment company has hit out at the Sunday Times for an article titled “Top executives set to score in BEE front companies – Brimstone trio in line for fishing rights worth billions.”

Brimstone said in a statement, "The article is grossly misleading, sensationalist, untruthful, inaccurate, unfair and not balanced."

The statement further read, "At the outset Brimstone and its executives have never and will never front in any transactions. It is simply not the way we do business. Brimstone has a 23 year track record as a successful and credible BEE company that has delivered on its philosophy of being profitable, empowering, and having positive social impact."

Brimstone highlighted some points that they wished to address in the article. The points are listed below, according to their statement.

1. The writer does not seem to understand the difference between directorship and shareholding. Whilst the executives Khan and Moodley are directors of SeaVuna Fishing Company and Khan and Tapela are directors of South African Fishing Empowerment Corporation (SAFEC), they do not hold any shares in these companies. SAFEC is the entity that will introduce fishing communities from the west coast, east coast, and KwaZulu Natal into the transaction. Further, in respect of SAFEC, Khan and Tapela were appointed in a caretaker role as directors of SAFEC only until the consortium was finalised.

2. Brimstone does not own 85% of Sea Harvest – it owns 54.9% of Sea Harvest.

3. The article seems to represent the views of union National Certificated Fishing and Allied Workers Union (NACFAWU). This union actually only represents 8 staff members out of Viking’s workforce of approximately 1 600 people (i.e 0.6% of total staff). This transaction will save 1 600 jobs at Viking, and the union should be highly supportive of such an initiative. Further, the transaction will result in a payment to Viking Staff in the order of R180m.

4. Unlike the report which refers to “fishing rights worth billions” – the actual value of the fishing rights attributable to SAFEC is around R15 million.

"We vehemently deny that Brimstone is using any individual/s to front as black empowerment components in respect of the transaction with Viking. Furthermore, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) investigated the risk of fronting in great detail and found that this is not the case when it approved the consortium's acquisition of Viking's fishing rights," the statement continued.

Brimstone said it would be taking action against the relevant parties to correct this 'unashamed attack' on the integrity and credibility of Brimstone and its executives.


- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE