Blue-sky thinking outside the box for Trencor’s JSE flight

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Blue-sky thinking outside the box for Trencor’s JSE flight

Container-leasing group wants to delist and unbundle its assets, but it is far from a done deal

Ann Crotty

This week’s annual general meeting at container-leasing group Trencor was one of the stranger ones on the corporate calendar so far this year.
It was strange not least because the members of the board of directors lined up along the table were all white males and, without wanting to be ageist, a little on the elderly side. Memories of the early 1990s came flooding back, except the lack of diversity is no longer accompanied by the strong earnings the group used to report back in the day.Chairperson David Nurek explained the lack of diversity by saying Trencor is busy working towards an endgame that would see it no longer exist. The plan is to unbundle the group’s assets – 48% of US-listed Textainer, a stake in TAC and just over R1bn cash – to the shareholders. Given these circumstances Nurek said it was impossible to expect someone new to join the board.
Having said that, Nurek did later inform shareholders there was no certainty about the unbundling as it was reliant on the Textainer board agreeing to a secondary listing on the JSE. There could be push-back from some sources, Nurek intimated, so it’s not a done deal.
It is unclear whether Textainer’s bylaws blocking hostile takeovers and protecting directors from legal action would cause any difficulties for a secondary listing on the JSE.
And although the Trencor board is working towards the unbundling endgame it now seems likely to take a bit longer than some shareholders expected. Apparently there should be some progress by the end of 2019.
Other things that made it strange was Nurek’s defence of the bylaws and his explanation that share price performance isn’t everything. What wasn’t strange was that none of the institutional investors present said anything.

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