SOUTH AFRICA – Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has made its 8,000 employees a lucky lot by allowing them to ‘taste the feeling’ of its shares through the Ikageng Employee Share Trust created to offer workers shares and direct economic participation in the business.

Ikageng, which means “let us build ourselves” in Tswana, was launched last month and owns a 5 percent stake in Coca-Cola Fortune, the CCBSA’s parent company, reports IOL.

Its primary focus is to ensure that every employee receives an equal allocation of shares regardless of staff level, race or years of service, the beverage maker said.

CCBSA said that of the total participation units, 25 per cent would be held in reserve for future employees and the remaining 75 per cent of the participation units were allocated equally among the eligible employees, irrespective of grade or salary as at May 26.

The dividends to be paid by the Ikageng Employee Share Trust would come from Coca-Cola Fortune, based on performance and dividends declared by CCBSA.

“If CCBSA makes a profit and subsequently declares a dividend, then the Ikageng Employee Share Trust will receive a dividend,” said the company.

CCBSA director Velaphi Ratshefola said the group remained committed to the ideal of transformation and B-BBEE and this investment was driven by the recognition that employees were the company’s biggest asset.

“As part of our mission to create shared opportunity and value throughout our business, we want employees to have a vested interest in delivering an enhanced value while influencing and directly participating in the company’s long-term vision of sustained profitability,” Ratshefola said.

CCBSA was established in 2016 following a merger between SABMiller, Gutsche Family Investments and The Coca-Cola Company.

Ratshefola said since inception in May 2016, CCBSA took a bold step to contribute meaningfully to the country’s ideal to be an inclusive and transformed organisation.

“Our transformation strategy includes bold initiatives in supplier inclusion and transformation and increasing our black ownership level. It is in this spirit that we have established the Ikageng Employee Share Trust to extend the ownership opportunity,” said Ratshefola.

In February, CCBSA announced that it had surpassed its 3-year target to transform R3.9 billion (US$231.3m) of preferential procurement to black suppliers by the end of 2020, delivering ahead of time – R4.6 billion (US$272.8m) was transformed by the end of 2019 – resulting in CCBSA being R2 billion (US$1186m) ahead of its 2-year target of R1.3 billion (US$77.1m) a year.

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