New An­glo broom

O’Rourke and Parker lead­ing way to mu­tual in­ter­ests

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & Markets - SIKONATHI MANTSHANTSHA

AN­GLO AMER­I­CAN new­comer and nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ray O’Rourke prob­a­bly has a thing or two to teach his fel­low board mem­bers. One of those is ex­actly what he did last week. Hav­ing been a board mem­ber for less than six months, O’Rourke bought An­g­los worth al­most £1m (around R11m) – with his own money. That’s a feat not many di­rec­tors on the An­glo board have achieved.

Well doc­u­mented on these pages, the likes of CE Cyn­thia Car­roll and many An­glo ex­ec­u­tives have only been ben­e­fi­cia­ries of its in­cen­tive schemes with­out hav­ing put up their own money to buy the com­pany’s shares.

O’Rourke bought 34 500 shares in London at £28,79 on 27 April, one of South Africa’s many pub­lic hol­i­days. An­glo Amer­i­can’s shares on the London Stock Ex­change were un­changed at £28,80 (around R324) at the time of writ­ing, while they could be bought for less than R318/ share in Jo­han­nes­burg.

A mem­ber of the au­dit and safety and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment com­mit­tees since join­ing the board in De­cem­ber, O’Rourke is also ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and CE of Laing O’Rourke, one of Europe’s largest pri­vately owned con­struc­tion com­pa­nies. To­gether with An­glo chair­man John Parker (also rel­a­tively new to the board), O’Rourke has taken the mean­ing of align­ing his in­ter­ests to those of in­vestors quite lit­er­ally.

Parker him­self is no stranger to this page: last week he paid the equiv­a­lent of R558 000 for 1 726 An­g­los. Since early in March Parker has bought An­g­los worth R2m, all paid for with his own money to align his in­ter­ests with those of An­glo’s in­vestors.

As he’s been do­ing for the past three months, Sho­prite Hold­ings’ chair­man Christo Wiese has again bought the re­tailer’s sin­gle stock fu­tures for R7,7m. As col­league Vic de Klerk ex­plained (29 April), Wiese has been caught on the wrong side of a hedge on 7,5m Sho­prite shares in which he agreed to sell the shares for be­tween 8100c and 8700c/ share by Fe­bru­ary 2013.

At its cur­rent price of 8030c the share is al­ready within a whisker of Wiese’s floor price in the hedge. His se­ries of buys of sin­gle stock fu­tures can there­fore be seen as an at­tempt to can­cel the ef­fects of the hedge on his ex­po­sure.

For the sec­ond week run­ning, Pick n Pay chair­man Gareth Ack­er­man has bought large num­bers of the hold­ing com­pany’s shares, which en­sures his fam­ily main­tains a firm grip on the busi­ness started by his fa­ther. Af­ter buy­ing R600 000 worth of Pick n Pay Hold­ings (Pik­wik) shares the pre­vi­ous week, Ack­er­man topped that with R400 000 for 23 000 shares last week. Prior to that the Ack­er­man fam­ily owned 48,3% of the hold­ing com­pany, whose only busi­ness is to own a con­trol­ling stake in the trad­ing com­pany (cur­rently 50,8%).

Garth Ack­er­man re­cently took over as chair­man from fa­ther Ray­mond, who con­tin­ues to ad­vo­cate the out­dated pyra­mid struc­ture, as it en­sures the fam­ily main­tains con­trol of Pick n Pay. Ack­er­man ju­nior’s ag­gres­sive buys of the pyra­mid’s shares may be in prepa­ra­tion of an even­tual dis­man­tling of the struc­ture, as the JSE no longer ap­proves of any ar­ti­fi­cial con­trols.

GARETH ACK­ER­MAN Tight­en­ing fam­ily grip

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