Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Johannesburg: The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has noted the decision of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to temporarily suspend the licence of ZAR X stock exchange.

The PIC, on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund, is a 24.14% shareholder in ZAR X.

Communicating the decision on Monday, the FSCA said the suspension was as a result of ZAR X’s non-compliance with liquidity and capital adequacy requirements of an exchange.

Noting the decision, the PIC on Tuesday said it also noted the public statement by ZAR X that it had concluded a significant equity transaction with a foreign-based investor to acquire a controlling interest in the exchange.

“We have further noted the unfortunate misrepresentation that the transaction [with a foreign based investor] ‘has been stalled due to an inability by ZAR X’s largest shareholder the PIC, to grant formal approval of the transaction due to protracted internal issues and governance processes’,” said the PIC.

In its statement, the ZAR X further said that “the transaction would be concluded by 20 August 2021 which would have pre-empted the need for the suspension”, laying the blame squarely on the PIC.

The PIC said it was necessary to state that there are no protracted internal issues and governance processes within the PIC adding that it subjects investment proposals, including reinvestment proposals, to a thorough investment process for the benefit of clients on whose behalf it invests.

“Whilst it is not in PIC’s character to publicly debate its relationship dynamics with investee companies, it is necessary to state that the PIC has demonstrated its support for ZAR X and has gone the extra mile to ensure that it succeeds. In this regard, the PIC points to the following facts, which ZAR X has omitted from its statement.

“These are that the PIC participated in the company’s two previous rights issues after its initial investment, as a show of confidence in the ZAR X platform.  The PIC has continued to engage with the company on its turnaround strategy, including cost containment measures which took a protracted period of time to be implemented.” said the corporation.

Whilst the PIC’s support for ZAR X has remained unwavering, it has had to do so on a risk-adjusted basis for the benefit of the clients on whose behalf it invests.