Texton shareholders vote firmly against share repurchase

Marius Muller, CEO of Texton Property Fund.
Marius Muller, CEO of Texton Property Fund.

Texton Property Fund’s shareholders have voted against the repurchase of shares in terms of the ‘Put Option’ related to the company’s 2014 B-BBEE deal.

In the B-BEEE transaction, Texton Broadbased Empowerment RF (Pty) Ltd. acquired Texton shares funded by a loan from the Public Investment Corporation SOC Limited. Texton agreed to a ‘Put Option’ as security for the BEE vehicle’s loan, subject to various terms and conditions, the most important being the requirement that shareholder approval be obtained for the acquisition of the shares under the ‘Put Option’.

99.99% of shareholders who voted, voted against the share repurchase. Nearly 278 million shares were eligible to vote of which nearly 234 million (76%) of the eligible votes, elected to participate. The shares which did not qualify to vote included treasury shares and those held by the PIC and Texton Broadbased Empowerment RF (Pty) Ltd. About 10% of the eligible votes abstained from voting.

The general meeting was called after, first, a loan default occurred when the minimum share cover ratio was breached as Texton’s share price remained lower than the original issue price. In August and September 2018, the PIC gave notice that it was exercising the ‘Put Option’.

The ‘Put Option’ was conditional on receiving the necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals required to repurchase the BEE shares, equaling 13.79% of Texton’s issued ordinary share capital. The ‘Put Option’ repurchase price equated to R12.90 per Texton share which compared to the closing price of Texton shares of R4.10 (on the last practicable date, 20 November 2018) represented a premium of approximately 215% to the market price.

Based on legal advice received from two separate Senior Counsel and after having followed the prescribed legal process in terms of the contract, the shareholders’ ‘no’ vote means that Texton is released from its obligation to repurchase shares in terms of the Put Option.

Marius Muller, CEO of Texton Property Fund, commented:

This matter is the last of a number of legacy issues that has created uncertainty for Texton investors. Given the outcome of this vote, we now look forward to working with all shareholders in order to regain the value that has been lost over the last number of years and to place them in the position that they were initially in. I am confident that together we will be able to accomplish much.