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10 Jul General

Johannesburg – Uthingo Management Services, the consortium established exclusively to bid for the national lottery licence, has won the first national lottery licence. The lottery is expected to generate revenues of about R6 billion a year. The Moribo Leisure-led Moraba consortium and the Hosken Consolidated Investments-led consortium, both 100 percent South African owned, were the only two other companies shortlisted. Uthingo was chosen as the preferred bidder by the National Lottery Board after a six-month evaluation process. Its members include three international companies: UK lottery operator Camelot, lottery technology supplier GTECH and Australian lottery operator Tattersalls. The South African Post Office and the National Empowerment Fund will also receive shareholdings. The six local empowerment firms involved are BMF Investment, the Black Management Forum`s investment arm; the Disability Employment Concerns Trust; Motswedi Technology Holdings; Numsa Investment Company, the subsidiary of the National Manufacturing Workers` Investment Trust; the Nafcoc Investment Holding Company; and Women`s Development Bank Investment Holdings. Uthingo is expected to invest between R250 million and R1 billion in a national infrastructure, of which 50 percent would come from the international partners, although they will receive only a 30 percent shareholding. Alec Erwin, the trade and industry minister, said the national lottery would have a positive effect on the economy. “An amount in the region of R100 million a year will be generated by the lottery for good causes, and approximately 20 000 jobs should be created over the life of the lottery,” said Erwin. He said the lottery board would now begin negotiations with Uthingo on the licence agreement. The eventual launch of the national lottery will mean the demise of all scratch card operations in South Africa, which turn over R300 million a year. Humphrey Khoza, the chief executive officer of the Uthingo consortium, said the lottery board`s choice reflected the high regard in which the consortium`s members were held for their combined credentials, expertise and integrity. He said Uthingo would take approximately six months to roll out the infrastructure. Moribo Leisure, which has recently been the top performer on the Hotels & Leisure board, was the JSE`s biggest loser yesterday, shedding almost 68 percent to R1,75 after its lottery ambitions were snuffed out. The Moraba consortium, led by Moribo, was widely tipped to be the successful bidder for the licence. Moribo`s shares held at R6 in early trade yesterday, but shortly before the licence announcement strong selling sent the share price reeling. By close of trade yesterday, about 660 000 shares had changed hands.

Source: Business Report – Bontle Headbush