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Klein Constantia finds new buyers

Posted on 15 May 2011

The Jooste family, who have owned Klein Constantia since 1980, have entered into an agreement to sell Klein Constantia to US citizen Zdenĕk Bakala and Charles Harman from the UK. Both have been regular visitors to South Africa for the past twenty years, and together with their families now divide their time between their respective homes in Europe and Cape Town. They know the Cape Peninsula especially well – as participants for many years in the Cape Argus cycle race and as devotees of the wines produced in the Constantia Valley.

They are enthusiastic about furthering the development of Klein Constantia as one of South Africa’s top wineries. They are equally focused on preserving the property in its entirety, a commitment the Jooste family was at great pains to secure in a potential buyer.

“We are privileged to be custodians of one of the most historic properties in the Cape, and regard the preservation of this heritage as a serious responsibility.” assures Bakala. Lowell Jooste will be continuing in his role as Managing Director of Klein Constantia. There are no changes planned to the team or operations at Klein Constantia.

Zdeněk Bakala
Zdeněk Bakala is a Czech-born businessman and financier who co-founded BXR, a diversified investment group with a global portfolio of assets valued at approximately six billion dollars. Zdeněk has been traveling to the Cape regularly since the mid-1990s, and maintains a residence in Cape Town. “I have fallen in love with this part of the world and am a great admirer of South Africa,” he says. “The energy and dynamism of this forward looking country is in great contrast to the more staid economies of Europe.”

Born in Opava in the Silesian region of Czechoslovakia in 1961, Zdeněk managed to defect from his communistruled homeland to Austria in 1980 and thereafter made his way to America. He graduated with a degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and gained an MBA at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. In 1989 he took a job at the Drexel Burnham Lambert investment bank in New York, and then moved to Bank of America. In 1990 he joined Credit Suisse First Boston in London, where he was in charge of the Czechoslovakia desk. In 1991 he returned to Czechoslovakia to open the Prague office of CSFB, and was managing director of the bank’s operations in Czechoslovakia and, after 1993, the Czech Republic. In 1994 Zdeněk established Patria Finance, the Czech Republic’s first independent full-service investment bank, which in 2001 was acquired by the Belgian bank, KBC. He remained Chief Executive Officer of Patria until early 2002 and served as its Chairman until May 2002.

As an investment banker, Zdeněk played a key role in the Czech privatization programme and the formation of a viable capital market during the country’s transition to an open, free market economy. He advised the Czech government on several privatisations, including the landmark strategic sale of Skoda Auto to Germany’s Volkswagen Group, and he played a key role in the establishment of the Prague Stock Exchange.In 2004 he led what was then Central Europe’s largest ever leveraged buy out when the predecessor to BXR acquired the Karbon Invest group, a Czech mining and resources trading concern centred around OKD, a coal mining company that has its roots in the iron and coal business founded by the Rothschild family in the 19th century. BXR undertook a textbook restructuring of Karbon Invest’s 56 companies to create several standalone businesses, including New World Resources (NWR), Central Europe’s leading hard coal and coke producer. Zdeněk and BXR took NWR public in 2008 via an Initial Public Offering on the London, Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges. The flotation of NWR valued the company at approximately £3.5 billion – the largest IPO on the London market that year, and to date the largest transaction of its kind in the Central European region.

Today, BXR is a truly global investment group with holdings in the Americas, Europe and Asia. BXR has interests in coal, iron ore, transport and logistics, financial services, commercial and residential property, green energy, furniture, healthcare, publishing, retail and others. www.bxrgroup.com
Zdeněk is a keen cyclist and regularly participates with friends and colleagues in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour. In 2011 he concluded the acquisition of a majority shareholding in Team Quick Step, an international professional cycle racing team that is based in Belgium.

Zdeněk’s philanthropy includes support for the Vaclav Havel Library in Prague, the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, the PORG School in Ostrava, and the Zdeněk Bakala Foundation, which provides scholarships to Czech students studying abroad. He has endowed a professorship at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration and has given generously to the Hilton Head preparatory school in South Carolina. His latest project is assisting the establishment of The Aspen Institute in Prague. He is married to Michaela, the former Miss Czechoslovakia 1991 and a successful businesswoman in her own right, currently leading LBM, a major luxury goods and lifestyle group in Central Europe. Zdeněk and Michaela have three children: Anabel, Aron and Aram. From his first marriage Zdeněk has a son, Franklyn. Zdeněk holds US and Czech citizenship, and lives just outside Geneva, Switzerland.

Charles Harman
Charles Harman spent 26 years as an investment banker, most recently as Head of UK Investment Banking at JPMorgan. He now is CEO of BXR, a diversified industrial group co-founded by Zdenek Bakala.

Born in the UK, he was educated at Eton and Oxford. While at university he paddled a small boat 1,200 miles down the River Niger, following the route of the early nineteenth century Scottish explorer Mungo Park. Charles joined Credit Suisse First Boston in 1984 and subsequently spent three years working for CSFB in its Tokyo office. He returned to London in 1990 to become part of the bank’s team focusing on the newly opened markets of Central and Eastern Europe. In 1995 he left to join MC Securities, a start up bank focused on the Central European countries, and was appointed CEO of MC Securities in 1996. From 1997-2001 he was a Managing Director and Head of Emerging Europe investment banking at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. He joined Cazenove, which subsequently became part of a joint venture with JPMorgan in 2001 and was appointed Head of Corporate Finance of JPMorgan Cazenove in 2008, and a year later, Head of UK Investment Banking for JPMorgan.

Charles lives in London and also has a home in Cape Town which he visits regularly. He first visited Cape Town in 1991 and has been a passionate admirer of the Western Cape ever since. He is a keen tennis player and cyclist, and has competed in the Cape Argus cycle race every year since 2005. He has been married to Charlotte Harman, an art historian, since 1987 and they have two sons (Alexander and Will) and a daughter (Alice).

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