Mystery buyer for Comair
Underwriting of rights issue points to Bidvest increasing its stake
THE CHAIRMAN OF airline company Comair was one of a few veterans pocketing large sums of money following share sales in their companies. Donald Dave Novick’s off-market sale of 10m shares at 230c/share filled his pocket with R23m and reduced his shareholding in the company to 23,5m shares.
Novick says he sold the shares “to obtain liquidity” for his family trust and to re-balance his portfolio. Although he didn’t reveal the identity of the buyer, Finweek can speculate it has to be one of Comair’s major shareholders. The most likely is Bidvestowned BB Investment Company, which already owns 25,44% of Comair.
Novick sold the shares on the eve of Comair’s R124,5m rights offer, which is fully underwritten by BB Investments. The company has irrevocably agreed to underwrite the rights issue in order to raise a deposit to buy eight new aircraft. “The balance of the funding for the new fleet will be raised from existing debt markets and existing cash resources,” Comair says. The share issue was pitched at 180c/share, causing the JSE rating to fall to close at 200c at the time of writing.
African Rainbow Minerals non-executive director Frank Abbott also pocketed a net R21m following the exercise and sale of 169 000 shares in the company. The exercise price was 6713c while the sale price was R193,45c/share. The former financial director of ARM received the options as part of the mining group’s incentive schemes while still holding that position until 2009, before retiring to his current position on the board. Abbott joined ARM’s predecessors in 1981.
Former Nedbank CE Tom Boardman is also R2,8m richer after selling 20 000 shares in the company. Boardman is currently a non-executive board member in the company he stewarded out of the neardisaster following the takeover of BoE. Along with Boardman, current Nedbank CE Mike brown sold 20 000 shares for R132,62/share. He had recently exercised his options on those at 6000c/share. That netted him R1,4m.
The veterans at ailing hotel and leisure company Queensgate Holdings (QH) weren’t as lucky. QH creditor Exhibition Building Investments came knocking to exercise its right of taking ownership of 30m shares pledged as security by founders CE Andrew Hubbard and strategic officer Holger Friedrichsen on behalf of the group’s development arm. “Shareholders are advised no further shares are pledged or ceded to any third party and that Queensgate Business Development (the development arm) and QH have no further exposure in relation to Exhibition Building Investments,” QH said in a Sens announcement.
After a long, dark period for the company there now seems to be a steady flow of good news. A fortnight ago QH announced a R15m investment brought in by a new controlling shareholder in the form of one Joseph Khumalo. In the same announcement, QH said it had successfully opposed the liquidation of one