The suspended trading of MTN Zakhele shares will only resume in January next year (2014) in what may prove to be a blow for many investors who were looking to cash out from the R13.8 billion BBBEE investment scheme.
The latest postponement may cause the scheme with about 120 000 investors to miss out on end of year cash that potential investors may have been eyeing to use to purchase MTN Zakhele shares. This may then depress demand for MTN Zakhele shares and potentially prejudice investors who have held onto the shares for three years. If demand for MTN shares is depressed in January, compared to what it could have been in December, logically the market value of the share will be hit.
The next logical question is: Is anyone taking responsibility for this and to what effect?”
The board of MTN Zakhele announced this weekend the further postponement suggesting that the problems faced by the over the counter (OTC) trading platform was deeper than earlier communications.
The MTN Zakhele trading platform was launched on the 25th of November 2013 but was hobbled by technical glitches which caused it to be suspended three days later. On suspending the platform, the MTN Zakhele board had said the platform was overloaded and initially promised to relaunch five days later on Monday the 2nd of December 2013.
The board then extended the suspension and promised to issue an update on Thursday, the 5th of December 2013. Then the board issued a half hearted promise to have the trading platform on the 17th of December 2013. The latest announcement moves the promise to have the trading platform back up on an unspecified January 2014 date.
The board’s statement said “While system enhancements and testing have been completed on the trading platform and the MTN Zakhele board is satisfied with the results, the comprehensive process took longer than anticipated. MTN Zakhele is still required to engage with the regulatory bodies in order to appraise them of the changes and sufficient time is needed to review these changes.”
MTN Zakhele Chairman Thulani Gcabashe said “We sincerely apologise to shareholders and investors that the resumption of trade has been delayed until the New Year”
“We are confident that the problems encountered with the system have now been resolved. A robust system is now in place that will cope with the volumes of trade we expect and ensure a smooth trading process in January.”
Anecdotal evidence is suggesting that demand for the MTN Zakhele shares was robust on the launch of the trading platform on the 25th of December 2013. The MTN Zakhele board has said that the online platform attracted about 25000 unique visitors during the first two days of launching the trading platform. Calls received by the call centre increased from about 4500 per day in the previous week to over 79 000 per day on the week of the launch. The trading platform could not cope.
Figures aired before the trading platform was suspended showed the MTN Zakhele share touching a high of R90.00 during the first day of trading and closed at R84.00. About 93 000 MTN Zakhele shares with a total value of R8.1 million changed hands on the first day of trading. The scheme saw over 100 000 shares valued at about R7.8 million traded on the the second day of trading and closed at R80 per share. All eyes will be on the level it will be tracking on relaunch of the trading platform in January next year.