JSE: Sagarmatha listing was cancelled due to non-compliance

The JSE says its decision to cancel the listing of Sagarmatha Technologies was based on the latter's failure to provide key information, and not influenced by emotions.

The group, linked to businessman Iqbal Survé, was supposed to list on the JSE in April 2018, but the plan fell through after the local bourse reversed its initial approval of the listing. 

Evidence delivered by Andre Visser, Issuer Regulation General Manager at the JSE, at the commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), stated that Sagarmatha failed to meet some of its listing requirements.

Visser said the conditions of listing were that the company raise a minimum subscription of R3bn and produce reviewed provisional results for the period ended December 31, 2017.

"Our decision was completely based on facts before us, and we initially approved the pre-listing statement based on the facts that were given to us. Our decision was subsequently declared invalid based on non-disclosure of critical information," said Visser. 

"I can categorically say we took that decision completely independent of any noise in the market."

In his evidence last month, Survé blamed the turn of events on an onslaught of media reports in the lead-up to the planned listing.

Sagarmatha had hoped to secure R3bn in funding from the PIC, out of a total investment of R4.5bn for its planned listing.

Visser said the initial approval for Sagarmatha's listing was on March 28, and the listing was scheduled for April 6.

"That date was subsequently moved to April 11 and finally to April 13, before the JSE intervened with the new facts."

Visser explained that the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) alerted the JSE that Sagarmatha and its subsidiaries, namely online department store Loot and the African News Agency, did not file their required annual returns, as required in terms of Section 33 of the Companies Act.

"The CIPC contacted the JSE and advised us of these areas of non compliance with the Companies Act," said Visser. 

He said reporting was an "very important obligation and talks to the integrity and reliability of financial information".

He added that after several direct engagements with the CIPC, the JSE came to the conclusion that Sagarmatha was not compliant with the Companies Act. 

"We took a decision that our original decision on March 28 was invalid and of no force or effect," said Visser. Sagarmatha later published its results, not within the required time frame, according to Visser.

Survé testified that Sagarmatha would have risen to the level of Uber, had it listed on the JSE and then on the NYSE. He said he had "no doubt" it would have reached a market capitalisation of $10bn.

Entities linked to Survé have featured prominently at the commission, which is probing allegations of impropriety at the institution. The PIC manages some R2trn in assets on behalf of government employees.

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