Denel ends partnership with Gupta-owned VR Laser Asia

Acting CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe made the announcement at Denel’s annual financial results on Friday.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - State-owned arms maker Denel has cancelled its partnership with Gupta-linked company VR Laser Asia, citing reputational damage.

Acting CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe made the announcement at Denel’s annual financial results on Friday.

VR Laser, which supplies steel products to Denel, entered into a joint venture with the arms maker called Denel Asia.

Denel insists that it has not been captured by the Guptas but on Friday it announced it was withdrawing from its joint venture with VR Laser, a company owned by Salim Essa who is a well-known Gupta associate.

Ntshepe says they have decided to exit the Denel Asia venture due to reputational damage - both locally and internationally.

However, he has continued to deny its partnership was with the Guptas, saying VR Laser is not a company owned by the family.

Ntshepe has reportedly declined to comment on evidence contained in leaked emails that suggest the Guptas secretly controlled the joint venture.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)