2011-06-23 00:00

Remgro’s passport to cash

NEWS THAT VISA Inc is buying FUNDAMO, a South African mobile financial services firm, for US$110m is no doubt welcome news for investment conglomerate Remgro [JSE:REM]. Last time we looked, Remgro held 31,9% of Fundamo – which was one of the original investments housed under the old VenFin structure. By TheSPECtacle’s calculations, the Visa deal means Remgro will cash out R230m for its stake in Fundamo.

In Remgro’s last intrinsic value breakdown Fundamo wasn’t given an individual valuation but rather lumped anonymously under “Other technology investments” (worth R385m as at end-March 2010).

Remgro invested some R44m in Fundamo over the years, so we’re damned sure the profits on the Visa deal restores some credibility to the group’s technology hub. Readers may remember Remgro taking a very quick bath on its investment in Xiacom Wireless in financial 2010.

Dan the man

TheSPECtacle made a recent commentary about proposals to delist baking equipment and cold storage specialist Universal Industries Corporation [JSE:UNI] – a most disappointing development, because we hate to see a quality small cap scurrying off the JSE. While no buyout price has yet been pitched, any fretting shareholders at Universal should be heartened at the appointment of Danie Vlok to its board. The vastly experienced Vlok’s appointment as an independent non-executive director “enables the company to establish an independent board to deal with any board processes required in response to the non-binding expression of interest received by the board…”

Vlok is currently a director of Bell Equipment and Element One but really made a name for himself as executive director and CEO of gaming investment company Real Africa Holdings (RAH).

In fact, Vlok’s determined stand against Sun International’s attempts to buy out and delist RAH a few years ago should give Universal shareholders some comfort that someone at board level will be vigorously scrutinising the value of any potential buyout offers.

Face facts

“IT SEEMS THAT THE people who understand the business models best are selling to less informed investors.” TheSPECtacle reckons that quote from RE:CM analyst Paul Whitburn should be pinned up above every trader’s or investor’s desk prior to committing any capital to a stock. While Whitburn was talking about major IPOs of social networking companies, Finweek is aware there are a fair number of companies going around seeking capital from investors. Buyer beware! And if in doubt ask the most basic question.

Curb your enthusiasm

TheSPECtacle always enjoys the commentary provided by stockbrokerage IMARA SP REID, which is very quick to call a spade a spade. In its most recent newsletter it rated South African technology firm Jasco Electronics Holdings [JSE:JSC] as a speculative buy. However, the Imara team was somewhat cynical when it came to the acquisitive management of Jasco, noting: “We hope they won’t have any more red-hot deals for Jasco anytime soon.”

Fairweather friends

TheSPECtacle did its level best not to cast a jaundiced eye over proposals by specialist retailers HOMECHOICE and HOLDSPORT (formerly Moresport) to re-list on the JSE. But companies that lack market endurance during tough times can only be viewed with some circumspection when skipping back to the market when the going is good (or when in-the-money shareholders want to exit).

Crude advice

TheSPECtacle suspects the chaps at oil exploration junior SacOil Holdings [JSE:SCL] are perhaps a little too preoccupied with the company’s share price. Since releasing a corporate update earlier this month that pegged SacOil’s net asset value at 370c/share, its price has slid down to levels close to 100c to under 80c.

TheSPECtacle hasn’t yet formulated a firm view on SacOil but might argue that sometimes it’s better for investors to see management concentrating on operational matters and spending less time worrying about the vagaries of the market.