Distell today announced its broad-based transformation plans between a black economic empowerment group, certain employees and a corporate social investment trust (CSI Trust).

These three groupings have formed a company known as WIP Beverages that will hold an effective 15% share in South African Distilleries and Wines Limited (SADW), the subsidiary company in which all Distell's operations are held.

The three constituents of this consortium are an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP), which will have a 45% stake, WIPHOLD, an investment group dedicated to women's empowerment, with a 40% stake and the CSI Trust the remaining 15%. The Trust, which is still being finalised, will represent disadvantaged communities in which Distell operates.

WIPHOLD will nominate two directors to the Distell board. Its CEO, Louisa Mojela, said women owned more than 60% of the company.

The BEE initiative is part of an ANC-led government drive to integrate more black people into business and economic power sharing in South Africa.

Distell, which has a turnover of ZAR5,9 billion, has a workforce of 4000, 67% of whom are from a previously disadvantaged background. The shares to employees will be to all those who do not already have a share option.