MERAFE Resources, whose only asset is 20.5% in Glencore’s South African ferrochrome operations, is riding the wave of firmer pricing and improved efficiencies at Lion ferrochrome smelter – one of the biggest in the world. Despite statements from Merafe’s CEOs over the years about diversifying into other commodities, this has never happened. Matlala recently reminded shareholders that Merafe is “assessing opportunities to deliver shareholder value”. It is probably just as well Merafe hasn’t diversified because few assets could match Lion ferrochrome, which helped Merafe’s profits to rise eight-fold in its last interim period so that it was able to cut debt significantly. Matlala hinted that this put Merafe on track to “... maximise returns to shareholders in the form of dividends”, which has raised hopes of a special dividend. Apart from its contribution to corporate social initiatives through the joint venture, Merafe also supports various projects independently, in particular two schools near Rustenburg as well as other nutritional and health programmes. After Royal Bafokeng sold their 29% stake to Glencore in 2015, Merafe’s BEE credentials are also in doubt if the courts reject the principle of “once empowered, always empowered”, despite it having a majority black leadership. Including Matlala and chairperson Chris Molefe, 87% of its directors are black.
LIFE OF ZANELE
Apart from her responsibilities at Merafe, Matlala also holds non-executive directorships at several other companies, including Stefanutti Stocks, Dipula Income Fund and Old Mutual. She graduated from Unisa in 1996 and completed her articles with Arthur Andersen. Before joining Merafe as CFO she was group FD at Kagiso Trust Investments.
- Web Address: www.meraferesources.co.za