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PepsiCo launches R1.7bn empowerment share ownership plan

The establishment of the Trust fulfils public interest conditions as part of its deal when the firm bought Pioneer Foods. – Reuters

The establishment of the Trust fulfils public interest conditions as part of its deal when the firm bought Pioneer Foods. – Reuters

Published Apr 6, 2022

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PEPSICO Sub-Saharan Africa said yesterday that it had launched its R1.655 billion broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) employee share ownership plan (ESOP) – The Bašumi Trust – with its maiden dividend payment to beneficiaries.

The establishment of the trust forms part of the public interest commitments made to the South African government at the time of US multinational food, snack and beverage corporation PepsiCo’s acquisition of South African packaged goods company Pioneer Foods, the owner of brands including Weet-Bix, Ceres and White Star, in 2020.

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PepsiCo SSA CEO Tertius Carstens, said: “This is truly an exciting milestone and sees the culmination of months of planning, financial modelling and engagement with many stakeholders. We believe this marks the beginning of what will be a fruitful journey for all our qualifying employees.”

The Bašumi Trust was specifically designed to create the most beneficial outcome, maximising the long-term economic benefit to 11 000 beneficiaries. Participation was unencumbered and each beneficiary would immediately enjoy dividends, which would provide much-needed additional income for households.

Chair of the trust, Melissa-Joy Golden, said the Bašumi Trust purchased common stock in PepsiCo worth R1.655 billion. Each participant was allocated one unit in the trust, and they receive proceeds from the shares in the form of annual dividends and milestone distributions.

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“Milestone distributions are paid after four years’ participation in the scheme, and thereafter after every five years of completed participation,” she said.

The launch of the Bašumi Trust follows closely behind the launch of the Kgodiso Development Fund, which aims to benefit local suppliers (SMMEs) and emerging farmers through a R600 million investment in programmes to promote opportunity and growth in South Africa.

“The Kgodiso Fund is focused on industry empowerment while our Bašumi ESOP is focused on employee empowerment,” said Carstens.

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