While Barloworld’s recently launched property-based black empowerment scheme has been generally well received, it seems not everyone is keen to take a slice of the novel action. Which is perhaps just as well, given the limited size of the new scheme. "It’s not a bad deal," says the manager of one BEE fund, "but with a 15-year ‘empowerment period’ we won’t be going after it." The broad terms of this unusual deal are reasonably well known. In effect, the 117-year-old industrial conglomerate is selling a R2.7bn chunk of its properties — equivalent to 14% of its total portfolio, which is mainly industrial property — to the recently created and majority black-owned fund called Khula Sizwe. Black members of the public are being invited to take up a 30% shareholding. A management trust holds 38% and Barloworld employees hold the other 32%.Khula Sizwe says the allocation to staff and management benefits about 14,000 individuals, "making it also broad-based". External funds are being used to...

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