Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - EDITED BY MARC HASENFUSS


WHILE OTHER FI­NAN­CIAL ser­vice coun­ters have been sell­ing off or un­bundling shares in JSE Ltd, Stel­len­bosch-based PSG lists its 15% hold­ing in South Africa’s stock ex­change as a “key in­vest­ment”. While reg­u­la­tions pre­clude any sin­gle in­vestor hold­ing more than 15% of the JSE, PSG has in ef­fect cir­cum­vented that rule. The group’s em­pow­er­ment as­so­ci­ate – Arch Eq­uity – holds an­other 4,9% of the JSE, giv­ing PSG an ef­fec­tive hold­ing in JSE Ltd closer to 17%.

Be­cause Arch Eq­uity is only 49% held by PSG, the ar­range­ment can’t re­ally be con­strued as a sin­gle party or pos­si­bly even a con­cert party hold­ing. Of course, the big ques­tion for the JSE is whether PSG in­tends mo­bil­is­ing its stake as an ac­tive in­vestor or whether the fi­nan­cial ser­vices group in­tends sit­ting back as a sat­is­fied pas­sive in­vestor.

You would think PSG could af­ford to sit back for a while and en­joy the JSE’s strong per­for­mance, es­pe­cially since group ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Jan­nie Mou­ton has ex­pounded on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions what a fine busi­ness the JSE is th­ese days. We’d sus­pect that any is­sues PSG might in fu­ture have with the JSE would be ev­i­dent in the vot­ing for board rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Still, who knows how long PSG will re­tain its sta­tus as the ma­jor share­holder in SA’s bourse if ru­mours of mas­sive for­eign in­ter­est in the JSE are to be be­lieved. Ap­par­ently, al­ready 13% of JSE Ltd’s is­sued shares are in the hands of for­eign in­vestors, who are clearly will­ing to pay a pre­mium for a won­der­ful mo­nop­oly.


WE ALL KNOW THAT Brait would up its of­fer for Sho­prite (much like it did for Pep­kor some years ago). While it was easy to call the bluff at Sho­prite it isn’t al­ways easy to do so else­where. Re­mem­ber Sun In­ter­na­tional’s David Coutts-Trot­ter ve­he­mently deny­ing that the group’s of­fer for Real Africa Hold­ings would be upped? Then un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances forced Sun’s hand.

How­ever, oth­ers have held firm with orig­i­nal of­fers – even when a share price has bro­ken ex­pec­tantly through the of­fer price mark. Pun­ters should have plenty more op­por­tu­nity to play the bluff­ing game this year…


ANY­ONE NO­TICE the stronger trend in the share price of spe­cial­ist re­tailer Ver­i­mark? The over­rid­ing ques­tion would be whether the up­ward shift in Ver­i­mark is sim­ply a mar­ket read­just­ing its opin­ion of the group’s fun­da­men­tals (in lieu of so many pos­i­tive trad­ing up­dates af­ter the buoy­ant Christ­mas pe­riod).

Or are we see­ing some ac­tive buy­ing ahead of a pos­si­ble private eq­uity in­ter­est?

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