La Concorde Holdings, which houses the remnants of the old KWV Holdings, has opted to pay out a large special dividend.

On Friday, La Concorde, which sold its core liquor production assets to Viv Imerman’s Vasari Group for R1.15bn in late 2016, declared a special dividend of about R250m, or 362c a share.

The biggest shareholder in La Concorde is JSE-listed Niveus Holdings, with a 57% stake. Niveus, in turn, is a subsidiary of trade union-aligned conglomerate Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI).

This is the second special dividend paid by La Concorde since its KWV liquor assets were sold. The company paid a special dividend of 50c/share (alongside an ordinary dividend of 50c/share) to shareholders in June 2017.

That means about R320m has been returned to La Concorde shareholders since the clinching of the KWV deal.

Investors who were fortunate enough to acquire unlisted KWV shares before the Vasari transaction — when the over-the-counter price ranged between 400c to 600c a share — will see a large chunk of their investment returned via the second special dividend.

After selling off the KWV assets, La Concorde has been left with the staggered settlement proceeds from Vasari, properties (mainly the head office and the Laborie wine estate in Paarl) and a collection of valuable South African art.

The company has been given a new lease of life after acquiring control of Golden Arrow Bus Services from HCI.

The deal to acquire Golden Arrow was finalised last Friday, and market watchers expect the profitable bus company to diversify rapidly into other transport segments.

“It’s been quite a ride at KWV/La Concorde … from brandy to cash and now buses,” shareholder Chris Logan of Opportune Investments said.

KWV, which is under new ownership, has maintained a low profile. A number of market watchers felt Vasari might struggle to eke out returns that justified the purchase price, but a strong brandy market may have worked in KWV’s favour over the past year.

Source: Business Day – Marc Hasenfuss