Silence is Golding
Former trade unionist Marcel Golding has kept a low profile since his acrimonious exit in late 2014 from Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), the empowerment behemoth he served in an executive capacity for about 20 years.
Though Golding and fellow former trade unionist Johnny Copelyn served as executive chairman and CEO respectively, the consensus in the market was that the former was tasked mainly with running HCI’s media interests while the deal-making was largely the sphere of the latter.
Golding might well be out to prove that his corporate acumen is not limited to media matters only.
Recently, in his Geomer corporate guise, he bought a strategic stake in small fashion retailer Rex Trueform (the owner of the Queenspark chain) and its pyramid holding company African & Overseas Enterprises as part of a consortium that includes respected investment manager Hugh Roberts.
What the consortium’s plans are for Rextru and Af&Over are not clear at this point. Understandably, there are rumours that Golding, who is also a sizeable shareholder in engineering company Esor, aims to inject new operating assets into Rextru.
But a subsequent Sens announcement stipulated that the consortium did not foresee any change to the nature of Rextru’s business.
Perhaps the more critical question is whether the consortium will have any say in the running of Rextru and Af&Over with the Shub family entrenched as de facto controlling shareholders via the pyramid holding company and the N-share structure.
Roberts, as an existing large shareholder in the companies, will know that Brimstone — the empowerment company from which the consortium bought its shares — endured a frustrating few years trying in vain to add and unlock value at an ultraconservatively managed Rextru.
Interestingly, the consortium’s transaction has triggered a mandatory offer to all Rextru and Af&Over shareholders.
Noting the lack of liquidity in the shares, it’s possible that more than a few minorities might capitulate their positions.
Af&Over, which holds 72% of Rextru’s voting rights, have not signalled their intentions around the mandatory offer, but the Shub family has made clear it is not letting go of any shares in Af&Over.
It should be fascinating to see how this all gets sewn up in the next few months.