Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Open­ing Bell - Marc Hasen­fuss

Share price: N/A JSE code: MLE

SELL MET­TLE IN­VEST­MENTS IS A spe­cial­ist fi­nan­cial ser­vices counter that was re­cently spun out of Christo Wiesec­on­trolled prop­erty counter Trade­hold.

The un­bundling and sep­a­rate listing of Met­tle was on the cards for a while, but was de­layed af­ter pro­pos­als to re­verse list it into sus­pended listing South­ern View Fi­nance (fin­gered in the Stein­hoff In­ter­na­tional de­ba­cle) were called off.

Older read­ers might re­call that Met­tle, in a slightly dif­fer­ent form, was briefly (and un­re­mark­ably) listed on the JSE be­tween late 1999 and 2003. New-look Met­tle con­sists of SA op­er­a­tions in­volved in fi­nanc­ing, ad­min­is­tra­tion and ad­vi­sory ser­vices as well as UK-based op­er­a­tions (un­der the Re­ward brand) that pro­vide as­set-se­cured short- and medium-term loans and in­voice dis­count­ing to the smallto medium-en­ter­prises sec­tor.

Met­tle’s re­cent profit per­for­mances have been solid, but the spe­cial­ist fi­nan­cial ser­vices of­fer­ing might lack the scale to at­tract se­ri­ous mar­ket play­ers. IM ex­pects the shares to drift down un­til Met­tle can articulate and de­liver on an ac­qui­si­tion strat­egy to bulk up op­er­a­tions markedly. Met­tle’s bal­ance sheet pre­cludes too much risk tak­ing, which means that cor­po­rate ac­tion will be slow and de­lib­er­ate.

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