South African Billionaire, Christoffel Wiese Sells Stake in Shoprite Worth $49.5M

by Ikem Emmanuel

South African billionaire Christoffel Wiese, who held an 11.58% stake in Shoprite, has made the strategic decision to reduce his holdings in the retail giant. This move is significant, considering that his stake was previously valued at over $900 million as of September 10th, solidifying his status as one of Africa’s wealthiest individuals.

Wiese’s decision comes following the receipt of a final dividend worth R261.91 billion (approximately $13.84 million) from his Shoprite stake on October 2nd. This dividend payout reflects Shoprite’s impressive financial performance during the fiscal year 2023, which ended on July 2, 2023.

Shoprite reported a 2.8% increase in profits for the fiscal year, climbing from R5.74 billion (around $300.17 million) in the previous year to R5.9 billion (approximately $308.55 million). This accomplishment is noteworthy, given the challenging operating conditions and rising energy costs that affected operating expenses and profit margins.

The company also achieved robust revenue growth, with a remarkable 17.1% increase. Shoprite’s revenue surged from R187.53 billion (equivalent to $9.8 billion) in 2022 to R219.53 billion (about $11.48 billion) in 2023. Additionally, net profits for the year ended in July saw a 9.6% increase.

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In recognition of its resilience and commitment to its shareholders, Shoprite’s board of directors announced a final dividend of R4.15 (equivalent to $0.217) per share, signifying a notable 10.5% growth in full-year dividend per share.

Christoffel Wiese, as per Forbes reports, initially built his retail empire, Pepkor, by offering affordable prices in South Africa and later expanding into other African nations. In 2015, Steinhoff International acquired Pepkor in a substantial $5.7 billion cash and stock deal.

However, in December 2017, Wiese stepped down as the chairman of Steinhoff following the revelation of significant accounting irregularities that caused a sharp decline in the company’s share price. Consequently, he also lost his billionaire status.

Nonetheless, in 2022, Wiese managed to regain his substantial wealth by resolving his dispute with Steinhoff, receiving a combination of cash and stock as part of the settlement, which included a 5% stake in Pepkor. While Shoprite remains his most valuable asset, Wiese also holds stakes in various other entities, including Tradehold, Brait, and Invicta Holdings, amassing a net worth of $1.1 billion.

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