THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY|

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

CHUCK­ING IT IN

PER­SIS­TENTLY pounded by neg­a­tive sen­ti­ment, the last thing spe­cial­ist re­tailer Ver­i­mark needed was its FD to re­sign.

Noth­ing seems to jolt the mar­ket more than an FD step­ping down un­ex­pect­edly – and dou­bly so if that ex­ec­u­tive is opt­ing to join an­other re­tail­ing group.

> BIG MAC GOES FOR

GRAY

FIN­WEEK be­lieves that Aussie in­vest­ment bank­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vices group Mac­quarie has pipped lo­cal prop­erty play­ers to the post in the bid for con­trol of the manco of listed prop­erty heavy­weight Grayprop.

Talk is that Mac­quarie, which is highly rated in­ter­na­tion­ally for its prop­erty as­set man­age­ment skills, has of­fered more than R300m for Al­lan Gray’s 76% in­ter­est in Grayprop’s manco – a hefty pre­mium to the es­ti­mated mar­ket value of R150m to R200m placed on the trans­ac­tion by some lo­cal com­men­ta­tors.

Lo­cals be­lieved to have been in the race in­clude Parkdev (a mem­ber of At­ter­bury Prop­erty Hold­ings), as­set man­agers Madi­son, listed fund Growth­point and Old Mu­tual Prop­erty Group.

The fact that an as­tute in­ter­na­tional player such as Mac­quarie is pre­pared to pitch its bid so ag­gres­sively sig­nals a huge vote of con­fi­dence in SA prop­erty – not un­like the V&A Wa­ter­front sale a few months ago where UK based L&R Group and its Dubai part­ners also com­fort­ably out­bid lo­cal in­vestors.

But it’s ap­par­ently not a done deal. Stan­dard Bank, which owns the re­main­ing 24% in Grayprop’s manco, could still ex­er­cise its pre-emp­tive right to match Mac­quarie’s of­fer.

An of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment is ex­pected within the next few weeks.

CASPER’S (C)LONELY VOICE

SHARE­HOLD­ERS got full value for money if they both­ered to at­tend the AGM of em­pow­er­ment group Sekunjalo last week.

This meet­ing was no three­minute af­fair, with both Iqbal Surve (CEO and chair­man) and Norman Noland (deputy CEO) go­ing through ev­ery as­pect of the group’s busi­ness in in­ti­mate de­tail.

A lot of things were said that we sus­pect share­hold­ers in at­ten­dance will hold the ex­ec­u­tives ac­count­able for next year – most no­tably some of the profit pro­jec­tions and the prom­ise to sep­a­rately list var­i­ous en­ti­ties within 12 months.

But with­out doubt, the most con­tentious state­ment ut­tered (by Surve) con­cerned Sekunjalo’s 49% stake in biotech­nol­ogy group Bio­clones.

Surve reck­oned this sub­sidiary – which is con­sid­er­ing an in­ter­na­tional list­ing – could be worth much more than all of Sekunjalo’s busi­nesses put to­gether.

That, how­ever, did not stop one scep­ti­cal share­holder (iden­ti­fied only as Casper) ques­tion­ing whether it was rea­son­able for Sekunjalo to take a hefty R80m in fair value ad­just­ments on Bio­clones through the in­come state­ment.

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