Needs to shine a little light…
A paucity of relevant financial information
THE WEBSITE for (supposedly) soon-to-belisted airline SunAir Holdings blares out the optimistic anthem: “May the sun shine bright on you” as an aircraft – decked out in red and white livery – glides past a really kitsch orange sunset. That’s the sort of happy picture that should hearten every optimistic investor that’s plunged cash into SunAir – a venture that three years down the line has still not taken to the skies with its much-vaunted Cape Town to London flights.
But the real picture isn’t that clear and the company – which has peddled shares to the public for a couple of years – certainly needs to shine a little light on key corporate and financial issues. There’s some urgency in establishing the basic corporate constituents at SunAir, as it’s announced it will list on an unnamed stock exchange on 1 September this year. In fact, SunAir’s website has a listing countdown clock – which, by the time you read this report, will be down to 15 days.
To date (as far as Finweek can ascertain), SunAir hasn’t issued a pre-listing statement or any audited financial statements. Nor has an official prospectus been released – despite the company’s ongoing efforts to sell shares to the public. With roughly two weeks to go to a mooted listing, it would seem reasonable that SunAir should produce the necessary prelisting documentation. Any half way decent bourse would surely insist upon such corporate protocol…
Perhaps the lack of pre-listing information suggests SunAir is opting for a so-called alternative listing on one of the lesser-known trading platforms. In that regard it may well be significant that its website still carries a link to British-based Plus Markets – an independent trading platform for smaller companies.
But it’s difficult not to regard such a paucity of relevant financial information for a soon-to-be-listed company – combined with its executives’ steadfast refusal to entertain basic media enquiries – without suspicion.
Despite numerous attempts, Finweek hasn’t been able to garner the most basic of corporate information from SunAir – information that would provide the critical backdrop to whether there’s substance in this airline venture. Why SunAir is declining
2. to provide us with that information isn’t known. It really is the kind of financial data that should be freely available from any company that has public investors.
In April this year Finweek sent an email to SunAir CEO André Shaban. We simply asked for an update on its listing process for the plus market – noting (at that stage) the company’s website claimed trading would start in first quarter 2008. We asked for a copy of SunAir’s latest audited financial statements and also asked for an estimate of how much funding had been raised for SunAir through the sale of unlisted shares.
Earlier this month we resubmitted questions to SunAir. Once again those were fairly straightforward enquiries: 1. With reference to your announced listing date, could you indicate which stock exchange or trading platform SunAir is listing on. Is there a prospectus or pre-listing statement available at the moment? If so, may I have a copy please? 3. How much money does SunAir want to raise at listing? Is there a big investor coming aboard? Can you identify such an investor? 4. When does SunAir envisage undertaking the first flights between Cape Town and London? One of the regular ploys in the unlisted venture capital sector is that companies needing a capital injection from public shareholders tend to dangle a listing as a proverbial carrot. Most of the time such listings never transpire, or are subject to prolonged delays.
At the time of writing Finweek received anonymous tip-offs that SunAir had recently raised capital in the Far East on the back of listing plans. The company’s website had previously alluded to a deep-pocketed international backer but that reference was subsequently removed without further detail being provided.
Within a fortnight all must be revealed at mysterious SunAir – although we wouldn’t be surprised if what ultimately transpires is a case of “listing deferred”.