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Iqbal Survé-linked IT group AYO reaches settlement with PIC

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The court battle between state-owned asset manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and IT group AYO has been settled after lawyers for the two sides clinched a confidential deal.

The PIC, which manages the pensions of SA civil servants, had taken AYO to court in a bid to claw back its R4.3 billion investment.

The long-awaited case started in the second week of March. But after two weeks of arguments in what was set to be a four-week case, the legal teams on Thursday agreed to settle.

The settlement was not read out in court. 

Khalid Abdulla, the executive deputy chairperson of AYO, said on Friday morning that the settlement was confidential.

Abdulla noted AYO would be releasing a statement later in the day, but said:

We are happy it is over and we are going to build this business together with the PIC.

Asked why the settlement was confidential, Abdulla said: "It has been agreed between the parties. It makes the most sense."

The PIC, in a statement, said: "The parties he sought to resolve the long-running litigation in a manner that best protects the interests of their stakeholders, in the circumstances, and with a view to giving the business of AYO a chance to create growth and value into the future."

The settlement means that Judge Ashley Binns-Ward will not have to rule on whether the AYO misrepresented itself in 2017 when it secured R4.3 billion in funding from the asset manager.  

The PIC bought 29% of AYO's shares in its initial public offering in December 2017. AYO's stock has since fallen by around 85% over the past five years from R43 to R4.70 a share. 

The IT group, part of businessman Iqbal Survé's Sekunjalo group, has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

*Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Khalid Abdulla was the group chief executive of African Equity Empowerment Investments. Abdulla is, in fact, the executive deputy chairperson of AYO. 

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