Johannesburg – Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), the union-controlled investment holding company, reported yesterday that earnings before non-recurring items fell R57,2 million to a loss of R29,8 million for the year ended March 1999. However non-recurring items of R67,6 million, related to the unbundling of Saflife and the sale of non-core assets, boosted attributable income to R37,7 million. Earnings per share were at 10,6c from the past year`s 9,9c. HCI`s investments include 5 percent interest in cellular company Vodacom, a 34,14 percent stake in Midi TV and a 30 percent stake in Mettle. It said its investments had performed well despite the prevailing turbulent economic and market conditions during the second half of the year. HCI said it was envisaged that Midi TV would incur losses over the next three years. The group said the year`s losses, which included the writing off of start-up costs, had been equity-accounted in the results. Operating income for the year declined from R2,9 million in the previous reporting period to a loss of R5,29 million. The group said it had disposed of its investment in Datatec for about R650 million and used the proceeds to service its debt. HCI said no dividend had been declared as the company needed its cash resources for further investments. It hoped to expand and consolidate its interests in the media, broadcasting, information technology, financial services as well as the gaming and entertainment sectors. The group said prospects for the coming year remained promising. The share price is trading at a premium to its net asset value of R3,22. Yesterday the counter closed unchanged, ahead of the results, at R6,20.

Source: Business Report – Bontle Headbush