Wham Bam_ thank you man_ by sdsdfqw21


									Date : September, 10 , 2009 Publication : Finweek- English Edition Page Number: 55-56

                                <§ PEOPLE

                                  PROFILE: LWAZI BAM                               INDUSTRY PLAYERS AGREE Lwazi                    Education System into a Johannesburg

                                                                                   Bam is heading for big things. Aged 38,         school.
                                                                                   he already heads the corporate finance              But it all changed when Bam and
                                                                                   division at Deloitte. Sean McPhee, a part-      some of his university friends at Lfnisa
                                                                                   ner in the same division, says: "To have        decided to start a bookkeeping business.

                                 Bam,                                              achieved so much at such a young age
                                                                                   is testament to his ability and strength
                                                                                   of character. He's certainly impressive
                                                                                                                                   The BCompt students partnered with
                                                                                                                                   Deloitte - which then provided technical
                                                                                                                                   support to developing businesses - and

                                                                                   but is still humble, despite what he's          ended up doing very well. The partners
                                                                                   achieved. Lwazi is a strategic thinker          at Deloitte suggested Ham should do
                                                                                   but is also not scared to get into the          his articles while finishing his degree.
                                                                                   trenches."                                      "I wasn't even aware it was an option."

                                 you man!                                              Barn's modest demeanour is prob-
                                                                                   ably influenced by his humble begin-
                                                                                   nings. He was born in Lujizweni village
                                                                                   in Ngqeleni, near Mthatha in the Eastern
                                                                                                                                   says Ham.
                                                                                                                                      Bam completed his articles in 1997
                                                                                                                                   and joined the audit team at Deloitte's
                                                                                                                                   entrepreneurial services department in
                                  'Now a controlling                               Cape. He completed his schooling in the         1998. The next year lie went back to
                                                                                   rural areas of the Eastern Cape,
                                  (empowerment) stake                              Newcastle, in KwaZulu-Natal and
                                  means they want to be                            later Woodmead School in Johan-
                                                                                                                                   The biggest obstacle in
                                  involved in running the
                                                                                   nesburg. He even admits he had to
                                                                                   repeat standard seven (now grade
                                                                                                                                      the industry now is
                                  business'                                        9) after coming from the Bantu                       getting business"

Page 1 / 2   Size=272X203mm     Circulation: 31817 Readership: 31817
Date : September, 10 , 2009 Publication : Finweek- English Edition Page Number: 55-56

                              9 PEOPLE
                                                                                      Greg Benjamin, a manager at the firm's           Says Bam: "This deal is also testimony
                                 ICE-BREAKERS                                     corporate finance division, says Bam             to the fact that the face of empowerment
                                                                                  allows his colleagues the same courtesy.         transactions has changed and that sustain-
                                                                                  "Lwazi gives space to his people to learn,       ability requires strong vendor commitment
                                                                                  to grow and develop but also for them            and support. The history in the empower-
                                                                                  to exercise their own views and execute          ment market is there was the old guard
                                                                                  an entrepreneurial flair. Lwazi also has a       of getting people in place with political
                                                                                  knack for this business. When you're run-        access and access to channels that could
                                                                                  ning around different thought processes          grow business. They weren't there on a
                                                                                  Lwazi brings a different spin. He tends to       regular basis or very operational. Now a
                                                                                  spot issues others haven't even thought of       controlling stake means they want to be
                                                                                  and he has the ability to formulate how to       involved in running the business. They
                                                                                  solve those issues.                              want to get their hands dirty.
                                                                                      "Manv people think corporate finance             "Unfortunately, empowerment deals
                                                                                  is very glamorous and they'll be involved        are currently hampered by the lack of
                                                                                  in the Anglo American/Xstrata type merg-         funding. Banks are focused on prescrx
                                                                                  ers - but that's not always the case. At the     ing their balance sheets. And even though
                                                                                  end it's hard work. But if you get into it for   Government imperatives such as the DTI,
                                                                                  the right reasons it can be very fulfilling,"    NEF and IDC can reduce the amount
                                                                                  says Bam.                                        of debt needed, they can't eliminate it
                                                                                      "Corporate finance isn't just about          entirely."
                                                                                  mergers and acquisitions: it also involves           Bam adds M&A activity in general has
                                                                                  due diligence support. For example, Sappi        dropped significantly. "We need to stop
                                                                                  acquiring M-REAL; a valuation side, as           speculating about green shoots, as nobody
                                  Marital status                                  with the Vodacom listing where opinions          actually knows when the turnaround will
                                  Married, with three children.                   are required by the JSE, when related            occur. Most current activity is forced sales,
                                  If you could practise an alternative
                                                                                  parties acquire from each other; and a           not voluntary. Part of the problem is that
                                  profession, what would it be?
                                                                                  debt advisory business, where debt and           companies remember the time when its
                                  Cattle farming.
                                  What's the craziest thing you've ever
                                                                                  infrastructure are raised on behalf of           value was 40% higher and they don't want
                                  done?                                           clients - such as when Government wants          to deal with the reality. Until mentalities
                                  I'm an accountant. Accountants don't do crazy   to enter an appropriate public-private           adapt, M&A activity will stagnate. In addi-
                                  things.                                         partnership."                                    tion, South Africa lags the turnaround in
                                  If you were stranded on a deserted                  Bam also mentions a recent merger            international activity by six to 12 months
                                  island what would you need to survive?          & acquisition/black empowerment deal,            and I think we still have a while to go."
                                  A book, my cellphone and a bottle of whisky.    whereby Jala Capital acquired 51% of Fire            Asked what the hardest thing is about
                                  If you were on death row what would             Control Systems for an undisclosed amount        his job, Bam replies: "If you'd asked me
                                  your final meal be?                             in a transaction that created the largest        that six months ago I'd have said retain-
                                  Red meat and dumplings.
                                                                                  black-controlled fire protection, detection,     ing staff. Our business is about selling
                                                                                  suppression and engineering company in           intellectual property (IP) - and retaining
                               school full time while still employed by           South Africa. Jala Capital is an investment      that IP is important. It's a struggle to find
                               Deloitte and obtained his BCom (Hons)              holding company with a focus on medi-            experienced people with networks and
                               in 2000 from the University of Natal. Bam          um-sized companies. It assists companies         who don't require training with an over-
                               passed the board exam in 1999.                     by providing capital resources and support       supply at entry level. It's become easier
                                   "I joined the corporate finance team in        to build value in those enterprises. Fire        with the recession and retrenchments but
                               2000 as I was interested in the commercial         Control Systems is a fire protection/engi-       we still haven't seen a significant increase
                               side of business and not just the techni-          neering firm that provides customers with        at skills level.
                               cal advisory element," Bam says. "Now              tailor-made solutions for specific projects.         "The biggest obstacle in the industry
                               a controlling stake means they want to                 Salala Lesela, CEO at Jala Capital, says     now is getting business. People are post-
                               be involved in running the business. My            it's a commendable achievement for an            poning M&A activity. There are some mid-
                               intention was to come, learn and go. And           empowerment investment company to                sized deals taking place but the big deals
                               even though I haven't decided to stay              acquire a controlling stake in a substan-        have dried up," says Bam.
                               indefinitely, I'm still learning and enjoy-        tial transaction despite currently adverse                                         RUAN JOOSTE
                               ing it."                                           economic conditions.

Page 2 / 2   Size=258X197mm    Circulation: 31817 Readership: 31817

To top