Abil – now a phoenix ris­ing from the ashes

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Ka­belo Khu­malo

AFRICAN Bank In­vest­ments Lim­ited (Abil) said yes­ter­day it would, un­der a new name, re­sume trad­ing again on the lo­cal bourse at the be­gin­ning of next month af­ter the JSE ap­proved the lift­ing of the sus­pen­sion of trad­ing of its shares fol­low­ing Abil’s re­turn to sol­vency.

The com­pany said it would trade as African Phoenix In­vest­ments Lim­ited (Apil), with ef­fect from Fe­bru­ary 1. Enos Banda, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of African Phoenix, said the com­pany had achieved an im­por­tant mile­stone in its turn­around strat­egy.

“Since I be­came a part of Phoenix in Septem­ber 2016, share­hold­ers have been clear that re­sump­tion of trade in the com­pany’s shares was a very high and im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity,” Banda said. He said the name change had been ne­ces­si­tated by the com­pany’s dis­in­vest­ment from the bank­ing sec­tor.

The lift­ing of the sus­pen­sion in the trad­ing of the shares marks a turn­around for the com­pany, which was placed un­der busi­ness res­cue in 2015 af­ter its sub­sidiary El­ler­ines Fur­nish­ers had failed to re­pay large sums of loans to large South African banks for which Abil was a guar­an­tor. El­ler­ines owed First Rand R157 mil­lion, Absa (R93m), Stan­dard Bank (R23m), In­vestec (R93m) and African Bank (R447m).

The then gov­er­nor of the SA Re­serve Bank, Gill Mar­cus, sus­pended trad­ing in shares of Abil and placed the bank un­der cu­ra­tor­ship on Au­gust 2014. This was af­ter the group had dropped a bomb­shell when it is­sued a state­ment on the JSE an­nounc­ing it ex­pected a loss of at least R6.4 bil­lion and the need to raise at least R8.5bn in ad­di­tional cap­i­tal.

The firm’s s share price then be­gan a free-fall af­ter in­vestors be­gan to dump its stock.

The com­pany re­launched in April last year af­ter 20 months of cu­ra­tor­ship and re­ported oper­at­ing profit af­ter tax of R269m for the pe­riod ended in Septem­ber. Af­ter the com­pany’s busi­ness res­cue was suc­cess­fully com­pleted, the com­pany said it had paid its cred­i­tors in full and had cash re­serves of R250m

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