THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY|

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

A STIR­RING IN THE PA­CIFIC AL­THOUGH PA­CIFIC HOLD­INGS – the in­vest­ment com­pany con­trolled by the grand-sound­ing Pa­cific Asia In­vest­ments In­ter­na­tional – has long had its list­ing ter­mi­nated, it’s heart­en­ing to see that ex­ec­u­tives have been work­ing hard be­hind the scenes to sal­vage some value for long-suf­fer­ing share­hold­ers.

Pa­cific is one of those sad cor­po­rate sto­ries, where in­vestors had high hopes of a new con­glom­er­ate be­ing formed by its Malaysian con­trol­ling share­hold­ers.

As Malaysian in­vest­ment en­thu­si­asm in SA waned, Pa­cific was pretty much left to lan­guish with an as­set base that re­ally did not war­rant a list­ing on the JSE.

News last week sug­gests that a pro­posal to ac­quire the group’s sole as­set – the Ren­dezvous Ho­tel and Con­fer­ence Cen­tre (ie the old Brack­en­fell Ho­tel) – is in hand, and this sale could re­alise R20m. Con­sid­er­ing the prop­erty held a book value of around R5m, the deal looks rather ac­cept­able (un­der the cir­cum­stances).

The pro­ceeds should cover Pa­cific’s re­main­ing debt of R17m, and leave around R3m – equiv­a­lent to around 12c/share – in the kitty.

No doubt the cash shell – al­beit in ter­mi­nated state – could still be of­fered to any party want­ing a ve­hi­cle to drive on to the JSE via the back-roads.

But in­stead of string­ing things out, we reckon the avail­able cash should be paid out to share­hold­ers and this sorry cor­po­rate chap­ter closed. JUST SHOW HER THE DOOR LAST WEEK A re­porter from sis­ter medium Fin24 was de­nied en­try to the JD Group AGM. Ap­par­ently there was not enough seat­ing to ac­com­mo­date the trio of jour­nal­ists who turned up…al­though I’m sure my col­league(s) would not have minded stand­ing.

There’s no doubt – with pesky ac­tivists like the ir­re­press­ible Theo Botha around – that AGMs can be­come con­tentious and even con­tro­ver­sial af­fairs. (Botha did, for the record, at­tend the JD Group AGM.)

Hope­fully the pos­si­bil­ity of a con­tentious sub­ject be­ing raised at an AGM is not go­ing to prompt ex­ec­u­tives to shut out jour­nal­ists, which would be a rather silly at­tempt to limit any dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion flows.

We cer­tainly don’t rel­ish the prospect of hav­ing to ac­quire a sin­gle share in ev­ery listed com­pany on the JSE just to at­tend AGMs.

ARTHUR’S THEME > WHILE THE cu­ra­tor­ship of Fi­den­tia – which seems to have an overly com­pli­cated struc­ture – is spark­ing some in­trigue, it’s in­ter­est­ing to pe­ruse the in­ter­ests of prime mover Joseph Arthur Wal­ter Brown.

A search through CIPRO shows Brown hold­ing di­rec­tor­ships of more than 30 com­pa­nies – in­clud­ing a num­ber of East­ern Cape-based busi­nesses like Grass Land Lawns CC, Com­pe­tent Com­puter Ser­vices and King Crete, as well as ex­otic­sound­ing ven­tures like Bam­boo Rain, Cy­ber­med­ica, Misty Moun­tain Trad­ing and Ser­vi­care Hold­ings.

The more the mer­rier…

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