Remgro [JSE:REM] announced in a shareholder notice released on Tuesday morning that the coronavirus pandemic had forced the company to reassess longstanding plans to restructure the company, taking into account the impact of the virus.
Among other things, the notice said the Remgro Board resolved to retain its 3.9% direct interest in FirstRand [JSE:FSR] and proceed with the full distribution of its 28.2% interest in RMB Holdings [JSE:RMH] to its shareholders.
Remgro most recently made waves when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that a R1 billion fund was set up by the family of the company’s billionaire patron Johann Rupert, which would be distributed via Business Partners, of which Remgro owns 43%.
In November RMB Holdings announced that it would be distributing its R130 billion stake in FirstRand to shareholders as part of a restructuring process. RMB Holdings owns a 34% stake in FirstRand, the parent company of First National Bank.
The shareholder notice said Remgro will publish the terms of the Remgro distribution by 14 April and that shareholders ought to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities until as announcement was made.
"Although still committed to the RMH restructuring, given the unprecedented market turmoil being experienced in South Africa and globally as a result of Covid-19, the RMH board is currently assessing the optimal timing and detailed transaction steps required to give effect to the RMH restructuring," the notice said.
The Remgro shareholder notice said Remgro was supportive of the RMH Board’s process to finalise the terms of the RMH restructuring within the context of the Covid-19 coronavirus as well as its impact on the business and the overall economy.
"With regards to the Remgro Distribution, and having taken cognisance of the current market conditions, the Remgro Board has resolved that it will, subject to the relevant regulatory approvals, proceed with the full distribution of its 28.2% interest in RMH to its shareholders," the notice said.
The notice said Remgro would retain interest in FirstRand to provide additional balance sheet capacity to support growth in Remgro’s existing portfolio and its ability to pursue "new opportunities that may arise".
FirstRand and RMB Holdings each released shareholder notices, each corroborating the message of the Remgro notice.