Very voxy stuff indeed

2011-02-24 00:00

FINWEEK ALWAYS applauds companies that make an effort with their annual reports – as long as they aren’t too creative (know what I mean?). AltX-listed telecoms group Vox Telecom has always pushed the boundaries of creativity with their annual glossies, having in previous years cheekily used well-known magazine styles – replete with advertising – to host its annual financial statements.

“Back issues” have incorporated the styles of Time (“Team”), The Economist, National Geographic (“Vox Geographic”) and Sports Illustrated (“Vox Illustrated”).

It’s all good, clean fun – and all the fiscal and regulatory requirements of an annual report are covered in the pages.

But this year Vox – taking the form of tech fanzine Stuff – may have gone too far. It took a couple of days for me to register. At first I wondered why Irene – our officious and efficient newsroom secretary – had dropped a trade magazine sporting a striking model with prominent cleavage on my desk. Fortunately, the magazine was brushed off my desk and in falling revealed balance sheet notes about goodwill instead of busty supermodels caressing cellphones.

The fact that Vox is still willing to go to such lengths with its annual report says two things: The company is still in expansive mode and; (perhaps more importantly) morale at executive and management level is good.

Some shareholders may even find the numerous product and services reviews insightful. The plethora of team-building and social stuff probably says something about the company culture (which isn’t a bad thing). As for the pictures of Vox’s executives playing in a band (The Voxettes)…well, that just reinforced my decision to consistently resist reforming my old varsity punk band “The Skull@*#^$”.

However, on a serious note the persistent rumours about Vox delisting from the JSE should make investors look hard at the numbers in its annual report. Net asset value, by my calculation, is around 100c/share and tangible NAV roughly 40c/share. Looking at where Vox is trading on the JSE it might well be tempting to pitch an offer to long-suffering minorities.

It would be a pity if a delisting did transpire. With the recent re-launch of Playboy in SA I’m sure the adventurous chappies at Vox would have courted controversy with its next annual report.