EASY TO LIST, BUT NOT NOW

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - MARC HASENFUSS

IS VE­HI­CLE RE­COV­ERY SPE­CIAL­IST Tracker, which is 33,7% owned by tech­nol­ogy in­vest­ment com­pany Venfin, ready for a sep­a­rate list­ing on the JSE?

Tracker is per­form­ing well (head­line earn­ings for the six months to endDe­cem­ber 2006 were up 19% to R69m) on the back of a 14% in­crease in the sub­scriber base to nearly 400 000.

The per­for­mance came de­spite Venfin warn­ing in its an­nual re­port last year that Tracker had noted in­creased com­pe­ti­tion in the stolen ve­hi­cles re­cov­ery mar­ket, which could lead to lower prices.

Venfin cur­rently val­ues Tracker at R556m, which in­fers a val­u­a­tion of some R1,6bn for the group. No doubt Tracker is of the size and at the point of its growth cy­cle where a JSE list­ing could be con­sid­ered.

Venfin CEO Jan­nie Du­rand says: “Obvi- ously it would be easy to list but there’s no com­pelling rea­son to do so at the mo­ment.”

Maybe Du­rand has a point. Tracker – one of the Ru­pert fam­ily’s orig­i­nal ven­ture cap­i­tal in­vest­ments – is a re­li­able cash gen­er­a­tor and one of only a hand­ful of such in­vest­ments in Venfin’s tech-laden port­fo­lio.

Tracker’s con­tri­bu­tion to VenFin’s head­line earn­ings in the in­terim pe­riod topped R23m, and the group paid a hand­some spe­cial div­i­dend of R133m as well, of which Venfin re­ceived R45m.

But what if com­pe­ti­tion in the ve­hi­cle re­cov­ery sec­tor in­ten­si­fies? A JSE list­ing could be a great plat­form from which Tracker could con­duct cor­po­rate ac­tiv­ity to en­sure that its mar­ket po­si­tion and growth prospects are not com­pro­mised.

Fin­week still reck­ons Digi­Core, the small – but highly prof­itable – ve­hi­cle­track­ing spe­cial­ist, would be a great place for Tracker to start look­ing for new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Easy to list Tracker. Jan­nie Du­rand

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