The SPECtacle

2011-05-26 00:00

 Wiese’s gold and Mouton’s pet

RETAIL TYCOON Christo Wiese – after seeing his hopes at fluorspar miner Sallies fizzle out – has regained some of the sheen on his reputation as a savvy resources investor. This week Gold One International, a junior gold mining company in which Wiese recently built a meaningful minority stake, became subject of a premium-priced buyout by a Chinese group.

But Wiese isn’t the only Cape-based entrepreneur who can claim to be resourceful. Jannie Mouton’s PSG Group [JSE:PSG] also looks like it’s on to a good thing at junior mining house Petmin [JSE:PET], which announced an investment into Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Red Crescent Resources (a Turkish company with a promising copper project). It’s probably worth noting PSG invested the princely sum of R5,8m for a 20% stake of the then Petra Mining in 2004. A few years later PSG put another R10m odd into Petmin, taking shares at 90c each. While PSG’s stake in Petmin (now housed in Paladin Capital) has been diluted down to 9%, the R16m investment into it is now worth a nifty little R150m.

Who says the Stellenbosch boykies don’t know anything about mining?

Take 45

TALKING ABOUT mining initiatives (and one that’s also headquartered in the Cape), platinum junior Platfields – which has been smacked silly since listing in late 2010 – arguably enjoyed its most industrious 45 minutes on the JSE last week. In less than three quarters of an hour the company produced no less than three trading statements, which probably left shareholders wondering about the corporate calibre of this little contender.

Its first trading statement spoke of a “difference” in earnings per share, while the second spoke of a “decrease” in earnings a share. A third trading statement pointed out the performance update shouldn’t refer to “earnings a share” but rather “loss per share”.

TheSPECtacle is certain Platfields’ shareholders would have loved to see earnings on the company’s income statement (decreased or not). Either way, decreased losses is something to cling to in these dank days…

Shares for Africa?

CAN’T ARGUE AGAINST the JSE agreeing to transfer the listing of Lonhro [JSE:LAF] from the venture capital market (VCM) to the AltX. But TheSPECtacle wonders how much the move will benefit Lonrho or the alternative market? No doubt Lonrho has made great strides in reinventing itself as a pan-African conglomerate with an array of interests from food services and technology to transport and infrastructure.

Indeed, for those looking for an adventurous African play, Lonrho would certainly fit the bill. The only problem is there are close to bugger-all shares available to South African investors.

TheSPECtacle hopes its transfer to the AltX means Lonrho (which has had no hassles raising capital in London over the past five years) may be contemplating a local fundraiser, offering a few more shares to SA-based investors. Without sufficient liquidity in its shares Lonrho may as well have stayed on the VCM.

Engineered solution

TRUST A CONSTRUCTOR to come up with a brilliant solution to an empty financial director post: add a slash after your position on your business card and, voila, you’re the CEO/FD. Often the simplest solutions are… Oh, wait: one person is doing two jobs over at a listed company… that’s not something investors may like too much.

So it was with great interest TheSPECtacle noticed that Sanyati CEO Malcolm Lobban will be FD for the “interim period” – replacing John Deeb. But that news was somewhat overshadowed by the group’s headline earnings for the year dropping by more than 50%.

Sanyati has been labelled as the ultimate victim of pessimism in the market; now it’s starting to prove the cynics right. The “dualling” of Lobban will need more than a permanent marker to “MacGyver” out of this pickle.