Brimstone Investment Corporation
Brimstone Investment Corporation Brimming with Confidence
The Cape Town-based empowerment group, Brimstone Investment Corporation, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, capping a remarkable journey from a community-based initiative with start-up capital of almost R3m to a JSE-listed counter with assets valued well over R7bn. What’s perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of this humble beginning is that today, Brimstone Investment Corporation now employs over 3 500 employees in its subsidiaries, and more than 24 000 in its associates and investments. Going strong after two decades is quite an achievement, considering the path many other empowerment companies have taken over the years. In Brimstone’s latest annual report, co-founders Mustaq Brey and Fred Robertson reiterated the company’s purpose as being enshrined in a philosophy based on three founding principles – “to be profitable, empowering and to have a positive social impact on society.” While Brimstone Investment Corporation has delivered on all three tenets, and then some, both Brey and Robertson conceded that in a period of extreme uncertainty on various fronts, including political, social and economic, it became more challenging over the years to deliver on the philosophy. Brimstone Investment Corporation – Leading from the Front Anyone reading the annual report would perhaps find it easier to disregard Brey and Robertson’s cautious note – especially the segment that outlines the major events that shaped the company over the past two decades. These events serve as a timely reminder that companies do indeed suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” but those that stick to a disciplined game plan usually win in the long term. After the founders convinced local communities to part with their hard-earned savings, Brimstone clinched its first transaction when it made a R7,5m investment in the fishing group Oceana Group. This turned out to be their anchor investment, and one that continues to fortify Brimstone’s investment portfolio to this day with a gross value of more than R2bn. In its second year of operation, Brimstone Investment Corporation raised a further R13m from shareholders and went on to acquire stakes in Cape Town-based businesses, such as broadcaster KFM Radio and assurance company Norwich Holdings. The stake in Norwich would eventually sell for a profit of R21m, and a number of non-core assets were also sold to raise an additional R62m, allowing Brimstone to fund investments in chicken eatery group Nando’s and in the hake fishing business. 2001 Sees an Increase in the Sea Harvest Stake In 2001, in a bid to hone its investment focus, Brimstone disposed of certain property investments, which allowed it to mobilise the funds needed to increase its stake in Sea Harvest. In 2009, Brimstone concluded a deal that increased its stake in Sea Harvest to 55%. In 2016, Brimstone continued its energetic corporate activity, which included proposing a deal to acquire an even larger stake in Sea Harvest, which was in the throes of buying outright control of Australian fishing enterprise Mareterram. Sea Harvest and Brimstone Investment Corporation Creating a Bright Future Together Our history dates back to 1964, where we’ve worked hard to grow into one of the largest vertically integrated producers of Cape hake in South Africa. We create direct employment for more than 3 000 people, and we’re proud of our Level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment status. Our majority shareholder, Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited, is also a black-owned Cape-based investment consortium, which just further points to a lining up of corporate values and ethos. We view the investment and confidence of Brimstone Investment Corporation in our operations as another feather in our cap, as we continue to attract both local and international attention for our vast array of celebrated products. Our retail products are distributed to all major national supermarket chains throughout South Africa, and our products can be bought in more than 2 000 stores in South Africa. Leading the Way Forward in Importing and Distributing Frozen Seafood Our products are distributed to more than 23 countries. Sea Harvest is one of South Africa’s leading importers and distributors of frozen seafood to the catering and hospitality sector today. With our own brand of Cape hake products leaving its mark on the industry, we continue to set the standard for excellence in the fishing sector today, and look forward to what the future holds with Brimstone Investment Corporation and our own team taking the helm.