New Anglo broom
O’Rourke and Parker leading way to mutual interests
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