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Chobe Holdings Deputy Chairman Jonathan Gibson loses $5.1 million in 123 days

The value loss in his equity stake in the business came off a double-digit decline in the group’s shares.

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Botswana-based businessman Jonathan Gibson.

Botswana-based businessman Jonathan Gibson has seen the market value of his equity stake in Chobe Holdings decline by BWP57.3 million ($5.1 million) in the past 123 days, as shares in the group plunged to their lowest price in five years or more.

The value loss came off a double-digit decline in the group’s shares, as investors took flight to safety after reports revealed that the group recorded a 170-percent decline in its profit.

Chobe Holdings Limited operates 12 ecotourism lodges and camps on leased land in Northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia under the Desert & Delta Safari brands, Chobe Game Lodge, Ker & Downey Botswana and Sedia Riverside Hotel.

It also controls Safari Air, a wholly-owned air charter operator providing air transport services to the group’s camps and lodges, as well as North West Air Proprietary Limited, a wholly-owned air maintenance operation that provides maintenance services to the group’s aircraft and third parties.

Gibson, the deputy chairman and CEO of Chobe Holdings who was recently appointed to assume the duties of managing director, holds 31,830,406 ordinary shares in the group.

As of press time, 6:15 AM (UTC), Aug. 31, Chobe’s shares were worth BWP7.40 ($0.661) per share, nearly seven-percent lower than its opening price of BWP7.95 ($0.710) for the month.

Since April 30, the group’s shares have declined from BWP9.20 ($0.821) to BWP7.40 ($0.661) on Aug. 31, accruing a loss of 20 percent for shareholders in 123-days.

The 20-percent loss follows a sell-off on the Botswana Stock Exchange, as investors reacted swiftly to a loss of BWP67.9 million ($6.1 million), which the group posted at the end of its 2021 financial year.

The double-digit loss in the group’s share price led to a BWP21-million ($5.1 million) loss in the value of Gibson’s stake in 123 days as shares plunged to a five-year low on the Botswana bourse.

Chobe shares soared to an all-time high of BWP11.50 ($1.027) on March 30, 2020.

Since March 30, 2020, the group’s shares have lost more than one-third of their value, as investors sold off stakes owing to emanating risk and growing uncertainty on asset prices spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sell-off was also intensified by the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry worldwide and the operation of the group’s subsidiaries.

The disruption occasioned by the pandemic forced Chobe to draw into a pre-arranged overdraft facility of BWP25 million ($2.2 million) to the extent of BWP11.6 million ($1 million), following a loss of BWP67.9 million ($6.1 million) that it recorded from its operations.

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Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

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Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

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Ugandan tycoon Charles Mbire to pocket $1.15-million interim dividend from MTN Uganda

Mbire owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit.

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Charles Mbire.

Ugandan multimillionaire businessman Charles Mbire is on track to receive an interim dividend of Ush4.48 billion ($1.155 million) from his stake in MTN Uganda after the telecom group reported a double-digit percent increase in earnings in the first half of 2022.

MTN Uganda is Uganda’s leading telecom service operator.

Mbire, the chairman of MTN Uganda and one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit, which operates as the fourth operating subsidiary of the South African multinational mobile telecom company, MTN Group.

The interim dividend will be paid electronically into his bank account at a later date from the group’s retained earnings of Ush902 billion ($232.4 million) at the end of its 2022 fiscal year. It is his first dividend from the telecom company since its shares were listed more than eight months ago.

The dividend payment follows a significant rise in the group’s earnings in the first half of 2022 despite a 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue, as it looks set to replicate its stellar performance in 2021.

As a result of the company’s strong financial performance, the board of directors approved the payment of an interim dividend of Ush5 ($0.00128) per share for the six months ending June 30, totaling Ush11.95 billion ($28.9 million), which is subject to withholding taxes.

According to data retrieved from the company’s earnings report for the first six months of 2022, its profit increased by 48.1 percent to Ush193.6 billion ($50.2 million) in the first half of 2022, compared to Ush130.7 billion ($33.7 million) in the first half of 2021.

The double-digit increase in profit can be attributed to a 10-percent surge in the company’s service revenue, which was driven by a significant increase in data and fintech revenue, which were more than sufficient to offset the 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue.

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Billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista to acquire Avalara business software for $8.4 billion

Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy.

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Robert Smith.

Avalara Inc., a leading tax compliance automation provider for businesses, has agreed to be bought by Vista Equity Partners for $8.4 billion.

Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm led by America’s richest Black person, Robert Smith.

The transaction received unanimous approval from the Avalara board of directors and is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions such as shareholder and regulatory approval.

Under the terms of the deal, Vista will acquire all outstanding shares of Avalara common stock for $93.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $8.4 billion, including Avalara’s net debt.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Vista has secured a total of $2.5 billion in loans from private lenders as part of the move to bring in institutional investors as co-investors.

The purchase price represents a 27-percent premium over the company’s closing share price on July 6, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the deal.

“For nearly two decades, Avalara has ambitiously pursued its vision of automating global compliance, making tax less taxing for businesses and governments around the world,” Avalara Co-Founder and CEO Scott McFarlane said.

“As a category leader, we believe that continuing to invest in innovation and experience is exciting for our customers, partners, and employees,” he said. “We are excited to work with Vista and will benefit from their enterprise software expertise as we build and improve our cloud compliance platform.”

After the conclusion of the deal, Avalara shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Avalara will become a private company managed by Vista.

Smith has an $8-billion stake in Vista and directs its investment strategy.

He also serves on its executive committee, the company’s governing and decision-making body for all matters affecting overall management and strategic direction. He has supervised more than 570 completed transactions, with a total transaction value of more than $265 billion.

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