By Kabelo Khumalo
JOHANNESBURG – Troubled technology company EOH suffered further losses yesterday after business magnate Patrice Motsepe’s listed investment vehicle African Rainbow Capital (ARC) flagged that it would dump its stake in the company.
ARC said that its investment in EOH would be disposed of at an appropriate time.
ARC spokesperson Ainsley Moos said the company’s decision to offload its interests was not triggered by any of the recent events that have engulfed the embattled technology and outsourcing company.
“We have communicated for at least the past year to our investors that our intention is to sell our shareholding, given the fact that we have invested in another business process outsourcing company named GemCap which we own 100 percent,” Moos said.
“No time frame of when we plan to dispose of our shareholding in EOH has been communicated to the market, only our intention to do so has been communicated.”
The news, however, saw EOH shares falling more than 4 percent on the JSE yesterday to value the company at R2.82 billion.
Last month, EOH declined 30 percent after multinational technology giant Microsoft cancelled two contracts it had with the group.
GemCap is an ARC subsidiary that makes equity investments in private and public companies domiciled in South Africa.
The company is run by former EOH executives such as Riaan Terblanche and Johan van Jaarsveld.
Terblanche used to be EOH acquisition specialist while Van Jaarsveld ran its business process outsourcing division.
Three years ago, EOH shares were valued at R170 each.
However, the company has become one of the worst performers on the JSE, slashing 48.25percent of its market cap in the year to date as it battled allegations of corruption and other underhanded dealings.
In 2017 the company was associated with controversial businessperson Kate Keating, who has been accused of colluding with the South African Police Service and the State Information Technology Agency to channel millions to his company, Forensic Data Analysts (FDA). EOH bought FDA in 2015, but canned the transaction in 2017 when targets were missed.
Media reports claimed that Microsoft terminated its contract with EOH after an anonymous whistle-blower alerted US authorities about alleged malfeasance to do with a R120 million contract with the South Africa Department of Defence.
Rudi van der Merwe, portfolio manager at Adviceworx, said there was a big question mark around EOH’s growth trajectory.
“The company lost focus and started buying businesses which are not part of its competency or that did not align with its strategy. Allegations of collusive behaviour have also hurt the company as investors are weary after Steinhoff and state capture revelations,” Van der Merwe said.
“It would be very difficult for the group to see a change in fortunes while it is tainted by corruption allegations.”
EOH shares yesterday closed 4.43 percent weaker on the JSE at R15.95.