THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY|

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

FLOWN THE COOP ONE OF THE FOUNDERS of the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar poul­try group Sov­er­eign Food, Rob Span­jaard, has re­signed as non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and as a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

That’s not so sur­pris­ing as last time we looked Span­jaard was lightening up his Sov­er­eign hold­ings markedly in or­der to bring in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors into the share­hold­ers’ reg­is­ter.

What’s more sur­pris­ing is that Span­jaard will now be fo­cus­ing at­ten­tion on his as­set man­age­ment busi­ness. That’s some­thing we’ll watch with keen in­ter­est…

Per­haps even more in­ter­est­ing is the ap­point­ment of Charles Davies – the for­mer CEO of de­funct Nor­wich Life – as non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and as a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Sov­er­eign.

Davies – cur­rently a nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of The Land and Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Bank of South Africa – had largely dropped off the radar screen af­ter Fed­sure bought Nor­wich in the late Nineties.

It would be in­ter­est­ing to know why Sov­er­eign ap­pointed Davies, who – on pa­per – seems a most un­likely can­di­date to head an East­ern Cape-based food group.

BACK TO BA­SICS WE’RE NOT SURE how much ex­plo­ration com­pany Chrometco en­hanced its rep­u­ta­tion as a se­ri­ous min­ing counter by an­nounc­ing its par­tic­i­pa­tion in what sounds like rather in­for­mal gold dig­ging in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo.

The group, which has al­ways looked a tad shy of suf­fi­cient ex­plo­ration cap­i­tal, has se­cured a joint ven­ture with Cen­tre Pro­fes­sion­nel de Développe­ment to mar­ket ar­ti­sanal gold pro­duc­tion (ap­par­ently 300kg a month) in the Kalemie dis­trict.

The group is also un­der­tak­ing a pre-fea­si­bil­ity study of a mech­a­nised min­ing project to as­sist the ar­ti­sanal min­ers as well as con­cen­tra­tor to up­grade ore cur­rently be­ing mined by ar­ti­sanal min­ers on the Kawama cop­per cobalt ore re­serve near Lubum­bashi.

Th­ese projects sound rather “grass­roots” (to put it po­litely), and one won­ders whether the ef­fort will re­ally yield any­thing worth­while.

A num­ber of read­ers may even re­mem­ber OTR Min­ing, an­other small miner whose ar­ti­sanal bent was none to lu­cra­tive dur­ing its short ten­ure on the JSE. IM­POS­SI­BLE PRO­NOUNCE­MENT UN­LISTED EM­POW­ER­MENT com­pany Grand Pa­rade In­vest­ments (GPI) should shortly make a rec­om­men­da­tion on the scriponly buy­out of­fer pitched by Dy­namic Ca­bles.

But with Dy­namic’s share price so skit­tish of late, how will it be pos­si­ble for GPI to make a fun­da­men­tal call on the mer­its of the of­fer?

Of course, the volatil­ity in Dy­namic’s illiq­uid shares may well form the thrust of what we ex­pect to be GPI’s vig­or­ous defence.

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