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HOSKEN STILL TO DECIDE ON NAIL BID

Cape Town – Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) was working hard at looking at the value in New Africa Investments Limited (Nail) and making a decision as to whether to make a formal bid for the company, chief executive, John Copelyn, said yesterday.
“We will work on valuing Nail and, depending on the outcome, might give it a shot by putting in a bid,” Copelyn said but declined to elaborate on funding sources.
His comments come in the wake of HCI’s expression of interest, not a formal bid, about 10 days ago for the potential acquisition of the entire share capital of Nail.
This followed hot on the heels of a bid for the firm of R9 a Nail share, or about R1 billion, by an empowerment consortium consisting of Safika Holdings, Mineworkers Investment Company, Tiso Capital Group and Investec Bank.
There has also been speculation in the market about a number of unconfirmed bids, including from media and advertising group Primedia and Johnnic Communications.
Questions have been raised how HCI intends to raise funding for a potential bid given its modest cash position of about R80 million.
Speculation is that VenFin, owned by the Rupert family, could be a possible source of funding for HCI in the light of past business dealings. VenFin has no direct, or indirect, interest in HCI but has a 33 percent interest in e.tv in which HCI holds 67 percent.
Chief executive of VenFin, Dillie Malherbe, told Business Report that the investment holding company had in the past provided financial assistance to HCI only in respect of e.tv. He declined to comment on whether there would be any further involvement.
Copelyn said there were still some uncertainties to be dealt with before making a decision on a potential bid. “It is unclear whether Nail is really for sale in the eyes of shareholders as an entity,” he pointed out. “Nobody is interested in bidding unless control will be in their hands.”
Currently, control of Nail rested in the hands of Phaphama Holdings which had about 50 percent of the voting rights in the firm, Copelyn said.
Phaphama was backed by three entities: Wiphold, Safika Holdings and Hollard Insurance. HCI is involved in a contentious delisting, the details of which will be examined in a court hearing scheduled for the beginning of September. Its share price is currently suspended due to technical reasons.
Aside from its majority stake in e.tv, HCI holds more than 60 percent in financial services firm Mettle and has other interests.
Nail’s share price ended 9c higher at R9.20 yesterday.

Source: Business Report – Vera von Lieres