25 May 2024 | 01:36 AM

#GuptaLeaks: Oakbay ‘doing the right thing even when no-one’s watching’

Key Takeaways

Most companies can be accused of bending the truth a little when writing up public relations spin to draw in investors, but anyone who has been following the #GuptaLeaks over the last week can’t help but see the irony in a presentation by Oakbay Investments where they describe the company’s integrity as depending on their “ability to do the right thing even when no-one’s watching”.

As part of trove of leaked Gupta emails is a glossy 2015 presentation titled “Combined Group Overview” which states that Oakbay Investment’s main goal is to be a “R100bn organisation in next 10 years”.

They describe themselves as a “family investment vehicle” with a nationwide presence. They also had a total revenue of R5bn annually according to the presentation.

The company is divided into four diverse areas: ICT, mining, media and leisure made up of Sahara Systems ICT Solution Provider, CAD house, Global Softech Solutions, The New Age, ANN7, JIC Mining Solutions, Westdawn Investments, Oakbay Resources and Energy, Shiva Uranium and VR Laser Services.

In what is an obvious marketing ploy the words of Oakbay are spelled out with a bunch of positive adjectives.

O utperform/optimistic
A spire
K nowledge
B rilliant/Betterment
A ttitude
Y outhful approach

Not done playing with the letters of the alphabet, the company also links itself to the three “I”s, these being innovation, integrity and impact.

“Innovation in thoughts and in action is what we aim and strive for. Integrity, runs like a DNA and forms the core of all companies within the group. Impact, it is highly important to always keep in mind the socio-economic impact our businesses have on the society at large.”

Aside from the catchy stock phrases and rainbow-coloured descriptions the presentation provides an interesting look at how well some of the Gupta-owned businesses were doing.

Under the mining and allied services section, it makes it clear that Oakbay has investments in the mining of various minerals like coal, gold, platinum, chrome and uranium.

“The total revenue is R2.5bn with approximately 6 000 staff working on various projects at any given time. It generates profits of approximately R600m per annum,” the presentation said.

Under Sahara Computers, it states there was a total revenue of R1.8bn and net assets worth R300m. Unfortunately, no in-depth figures are given for the media arm of the company, although TNA, the holding company of The New Age, was said to be profitable after only three years in operation and ANN7 had “reached break-even in five months.

“This division boasts of revenue of about R300m employing more than 600 people across the country.”

Oakbay also lists a property portfolio in the presentation with a total worth estimated at R1bn and revenues generated of about R100m. Among this is the Clifftop (Lodge) in Cape Town situated on 300 000ha of a conservation reserve.

The IT section including Sahara Computers is named as having R1.8bn in revenues.
Shiva Uranium is clearly an important stake in the company empire and the presentation states that is has a market capitalisation of R25bn.

There is a quote by Uranium Energy Corporation CEO Amir Adnani: “There are strong reasons to believe that the bottom of the cycle has been reached and the future could well see significantly higher uranium prices. A once in a generation opportunity may be in development here.”

And for anyone trying to guess where the company is heading next in terms of future growth the next slide on the outlook of the uranium industry says it all: The nuclear build programme.

The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism produced this story. Like it? Be an amaB supporter and help us do more. Know more? Send us
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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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