To my mind

Finweek English Edition - - FINWEEKCONTENTS - | Marc Hasen­fuss

One trend I’m cer­tain will take hold on the JSE this year will be delist­ings

among smaller cap com­pa­nies

IT’S PROB­A­BLY A LIT­TLE too early to get a real feel of what 2011 might hold for in­vestors. And af­ter

Fin­week’s solid show­ing in our an­nual stock se­lec­tions for 2010 it’s tempt­ing to bask in the glory of the im­me­di­ate past. The truth is we re­ally have to wait for the mar­ket movers – or “the money” – to drift back af­ter their Christ­mas hol­i­days be­fore ven­tur­ing any long-sighted pre­dic­tions.

Still, at this early junc­ture it seems ex­pec­ta­tions (us­ing my col­leagues’ share picks for 2011 as ref­er­ence) are for an­other solid (if un­spec­tac­u­lar) year. I think most of us would hap­pily take that sce­nario if of­fered now…

Per­haps it’s also sig­nif­i­cant that my col­leagues – un­like in pre­vi­ous years – aren’t bank­ing on the rand fi­nally giv­ing way to weak­ness. What also might be sig­nif­i­cant is that not too many of us – out­side re­sources writer Bren­dan Ryan – are chas­ing com­mod­ity plays in our an­nual stock picks. While na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of mines has been ring-fenced (so to speak), I sus­pect we journos are in­creas­ingly re­al­is­ing op­er­a­tors in this lu­cra­tive sec­tor now need so much more than cor­po­rate, fi­nan­cial and min­ing skills to thrive. It’s risky… for all the wrong rea­sons.

One trend I’m cer­tain will take hold on the JSE this year will be delist­ings among smaller cap com­pa­nies. AH-Vest has al­ready sig­nalled its in­ten­tion to delist and I sus­pect there must be two dozen fi­nan­cially strained lit­tle ’uns that could do with­out the bur­den of be­ing listed. Buy­out of­fers won’t al­ways be gen­er­ous (or fair). But com­pa­nies, I hope, will at least do the de­cent thing and of­fer share­hold­ers the chance of re­main­ing on board an un­listed en­tity. His­tory will show that delisted com­pa­nies can some­times take some in­ter­est­ing cour­ses – cour­ses that some­times end up back at the JSE.

Per­son­ally, I could be for­given for pre­dict­ing 2011 to be a rash af­fair. Af­ter a fever­ish New Year’s eve I sur­faced on New Year’s Day – much to my chil­dren’s amuse­ment – with an abun­dance of itchy spots and aches in ev­ery joint: Chicken pox. At forty-some­thing that’s no joke… and nei­ther is try­ing to edit a mag­a­zine by re­mote.

Thanks to an in­cred­i­ble staff – es­pe­cially En­gela Slab­ber (who stepped into the hot seat at short no­tice) and un­flap­pable art di­rec­tor Jig­nasa Diar – for pulling off the year’s first is­sue un­der very try­ing cir­cum­stances.

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