Johann Rupert’s R347 million payday

Billionaire Johann Rupert is set to get a R346.84 million payday from dividends in his investment company, Reinet.

Reinet recently released its results for the year through March 2024, which revealed that the company’s net asset value had grown to €6.18 billion.

This reflects an increase of €464 million or 8.1% from €5.72 million recorded on 31 March 2023.

Reinet’s current net asset value reflects a compound growth rate of 8.8% per annum in euro terms since March 2009, including dividends paid.

Rupert is Reinet’s chairman, and through the Anton Rupert Trust, the Anton Rupert Descendants Trust and affiliated parties hold some 48.8 million of the company’s shares.

This represents 24.93% of the company’s issued share capital, according to Reinet’s 2023 results.

In its 2024 results, Reinet proposed a dividend of €0.35 per share. 

This means that the Ruperts’ 48.8 million shares will earn them a dividend payout of €17.08 million, or R346.84 million.

Rupert, a titan of South African business, has built a vast empire encompassing numerous prominent companies both locally and internationally. 

His shrewd leadership has placed him second on the Forbes African Billionaires List, with a net worth estimated at a staggering $10.1 billion (R188.43 billion).

Rupert’s wealth stems from a family legacy built on business savvy and strategic expansion. The foundation lies with his father, Anton Rupert, who established Voorbrand, a tobacco company, in the 1940s. 

This venture later evolved into Rembrandt, a South African tobacco powerhouse that entered the market in 1948 and found rapid success. By the 1970s, Rembrandt had diversified into various sectors like finance, mining, and food.

While Johann pursued business instead of finishing his economics studies, his career path proved fruitful. 

He gained international experience at Chase Manhattan and Lazard Freres before returning to South Africa in 1979 to establish Rand Merchant Bank (RMB). After leading RMB as CEO for several years, he joined Rembrandt in the 1980s.

A key move came when Johann Rupert spun off Rembrandt’s international luxury assets to form Compagnie Financiere Richemont, the Swiss giant now synonymous with luxury brands like Cartier and Montblanc. He later ascended to the role of chairman at Rembrandt in 1991.

Rembrandt further consolidated its tobacco interests through strategic mergers, ultimately combining them with British American Tobacco. 

The year 2000 saw a significant restructuring with Rembrandt dividing into two publicly traded companies – Remgro, overseeing traditional assets, and Venfin, focused on technology. These entities later merged back into a single Remgro, where Johann Rupert remains chairman.

His leadership extended to Richemont as well, becoming chairman and CEO in 2000. Richemont streamlined its focus by spinning off non-luxury businesses into Reinet Investments in 2008.

Today, Johann Rupert holds the chairman position across all three companies – Remgro, Richemont, and Reinet. 

Richemont reigns supreme in terms of market capitalization, followed by Reinet and Remgro. These entities hold a vast portfolio of local and international companies across diverse industries.

Beyond his financial success, Rupert is a renowned philanthropist. The Rupert family has a rich legacy of giving back, employing countless individuals, and consistently ranking as the highest individual taxpayers in South Africa for the past two decades.

Their philanthropic endeavours extend far and wide, encompassing educational institutions, environmental causes, and programs for underprivileged youth. 

The family’s commitment to education is particularly noteworthy, with the Rupert Education Foundation spearheading numerous initiatives designed to empower South African children and youth.

Rupert’s father, Anton Rupert, laid the groundwork for this philanthropic spirit. 

He played a pivotal role in establishing the South African arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature and actively participated in the National Parks Trust of South Africa.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Johann Rupert and his family have generously supported organisations like the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the SA College for Tourism, and Ikamva Labantu.

One cause particularly close to Rupert and his wife Gaynor’s hearts is empowering underprivileged communities through land and housing initiatives. 

Their commitment has resulted in sponsoring over 2,000 title deeds in Stellenbosch and Graaff-Reinet.