The union of two unique Pioneers – RPC Astrapak – WDBIH
WDB Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd (“WDBIH”) – a 100% black owned and women-led organisation – has pioneered and championed the rights of women for over 22 years. The developmental arm of WDBIH, which began its development micro-finance programme in 1991 through a Not for Profit organisation, which later fell under the WDB Trust, has sought to fight poverty and to give rural women the necessary resources to empower themselves. WDBIH, which was formed in 1996, was established to support the programmes of the WDB Trust. WDBIH seeks to be a strategic and transformational investor in its investee companies, thereby creating a sustainable foundation to serve the vision of the WDB Trust, which is mandated to bring about both economic upliftment and social advancement of poor rural women in South Africa.
Over the past 22 years WDBIH has built up a portfolio of assets both in the listed and unlisted space with a gross value of approximately R 6 billion for the year-ended March 2017. This portfolio is comprised predominantly of assets within the Financial Services, Consumer (including FMCG), Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) and Diversified Industrials sector. Some of WDBIH’s key strategic investments include FirstRand Group Limited, Discovery Limited, Assupol Life, Tsebo Solutions Group, Bidvest Limited, Bidcorp Limited and Ascendis Health Limited. WDBIH is a long-term strategic partner that advocate for women empowerment and advancement in its investments. Over the company’s lifetime, WDBIH has repatriated in excess of R 200 million to the WDB Trust to fund its development programmes and the WDB Trust through its three programmes has reached over 200 000 rural beneficiaries thereby uplifting thousands of these households that live under extreme poverty.
RPC Astrapak are themselves pioneers in a different field. Recently acquired, RPC Astrapak is now a subsidiary of one of the global leading plastic packaging conglomerates, RPC Group Plc. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the parent company is one of Europe’s largest suppliers of plastic packaging with operations in 34 countries and an annual revenue of in excess of £ 3,0 billion.
The South African entity, RPC Astrapak, stands proud in the industry as one of the leading local suppliers of plastic packaging products. They have pioneered numerous unique products influenced by leading edge technology that have won awards and recognition both locally and internationally.
It is therefore wonderfully appropriate that the union of these two pioneers should take place at a time when our country is once again on the brink of unbridling its political and economic potential. The coming together of two significantly well organised, professional and powerfully motivated companies to form an alliance, which once more paves a pioneering path within the plastic packaging industry.
As part of their long-term strategy for doing business in South Africa, RPC fully appreciated the importance of having a local empowered partner in Astrapak and this is therefore another important building block in achieving that strategic plan.
We are therefore proud to announce that in terms of the transaction, WDBIH acquired 20% of local plastic packaging manufacturer RPC Astrapak for an undisclosed amount. The deal is effective 1 June 2018. As part of the transaction, WDBIH has made a significant cash investment into RPC Astrapak which will be used to fund growth within RPC Astrapak.
RPC Astrapak is proud to embrace WDBIH as their new local partner in South Africa in what is a competitive industry. The benefits of this deal are mutual and the sharing of two broad networks built over years by the two companies can and will only lead to a very valuable partnership between RPC Astrapak and WDBIH.
This transaction sets RPC Astrapak apart, in that it will be positioned as the first internationally owned and empowered major plastics manufacturer based in South Africa. In addition, the Company is in the process of finalising a B-BBEE compliant ESOP (employee ownership scheme) which will take up a 5.01% interest in the Company for the benefit of qualifying employees.
The initial RPC Group Plc acquisition of RPC Astrapak, has allowed RPC Astrapak access to world class quality, research and development expertise, knowledge and technology, which is a recipe for ultimate success.
RPC Astrapak Chief Executive Robin Moore said: “Having spent years in the industry, it is incredibly exciting to bring RPC – who are a genuine global leader in Plastic Packaging and understand the need and have a culture of enabling businesses to operate effectively in their local environments – together with WDBIH who are a well-respected, active strategic partner that have the desire and passion to understand and involve themselves in our industry and more specifically our Company. We are extremely excited at the new opportunities which lie on the horizon because of this historic deal and look forward to making a difference in the lives of everyone involved, but specifically women who have been neglected in mainstream industry and manufacturing. For our customers and the market in general, we believe that we have created something unique – direct access to international products and technology while still enabling procurement from an empowered supplier in terms of B-BBEE legislation.”
WDBIH Chief Executive Faith Khanyile said: “WDBIH is excited to be a partner to Astrapak especially given the positive growth prospects of the business and the sector globally. We pride ourselves in being game changers in sectors such as this one where the participation of women at the various levels (shareholding and management) is still very low. We look forward to fulfilling our mandate of gender transformation through our board participation and working with Astrapak in achieving its overall transformation strategy. We have funded a significant proportion of this investment and thank RPC for their commitment in vendor financing the balance. We believe that the return on our investment will only add to the important work we already do in helping women find their rightful place in business and now more specifically in the manufacturing sector. We will add a new dimension to RPC Astrapak and are confident that this will be a long-term, fruitful partnership.”
This new journey now begins in the plastic packaging industry in South Africa. RPC Astrapak has maintained a Level 4 B-BBEE rating for the past two years and with this deal and other aligned initiatives, expect to at least retain this rating. Via WDBIH, the new platform provides an all-important investment into the positive social impact on women in our country while simultaneously providing our customers access to RPC’s global technology and support.