The board of commuter bus company Putco says, contrary to what has been published in the past week, it does not have an opinion on Hosken Consolidated Investments’ offer to buy-out Putco. Putco MD Franco Pisapia said yesterday the opinion that some aspects of the offer were “defective” was that of the Securities Regulation Panel and not hte company. Pisapia said Putco was waiting for the panel to complete its investigation into the offer before it decided whether or not to accept it. The panel was due to have given its ruling on Friday but, Pisapia said, Putco had been told it was not ready to give a decision. The delay was holding up Putco’s plans to prepare a new empowerment proposal as the Hosken offer was taking up its time, said Pisapia. Minority shareholders in Putco recently scuppered a proposed empowerment deal that would have seen it delsited from the JSE Securities Exchange SA. Putco has for some tim emaintained that bringing in an empowerment partner is critical for the survival as it depends on government tendered bus routes. If the proposal ahd been passsed, Saki Macozoma’s Safika and DEC Investments would have taken 29% and 9% holdings respectively. The proposal needed the support of shareholders holdings 75% of Putco’s shares, but received only 70%. Taking control of Putco would fit neatly into Hosken’s growth strategy as it has recently taken control of Western Cape Commuter bus company Golden Arrow. Putco closed down 8% at R6,90, with R3 400 shares traded, while Hosken Consolidated Investments closed 8,3% higher at R13.00 with 4 000 shares trading hands.

Source: Business Day – Larry Classen