February 16, 2018 / 1:23 PM / a year ago

South Africa's Clicks staff set for $108 mln payout

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Nearly 6,000 workers at Clicks Group will share a 1.26 billion rand ($108 million) windfall from a share ownership scheme launched seven years ago as part of the South African retailer’s efforts to meet quotas on black ownership.

On Friday, employees from cashiers and pharmacists to managers at the drug store chain sold 7.6 million shares at 166 rand each — locking in a four-fold increase in the share price since 2011 when the scheme was launched.

Clicks launched the scheme in 2011 when it sold 10 percent of the group’s shares to its staff through a trust. Some 5,882 employees are in the scheme, 88 percent of whom are black.

Under black economic empowerment rules, South African companies are required to meet quotas on black ownership, employment and procurement as part of a drive to reverse decades of exclusion under apartheid.

However, the government has been criticized by its supporters over inequality in a country where black people make up about 80 percent of the population of 54 million, but ownership of land and companies remains mostly in the hands of white people, who account for about 8 percent of the population. ($1 = 11.5810 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Keith Weir)

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