CNA casts a shadow over Wooltru.

Posted On Monday, 03 March 2003 10:01 Published by
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CAPE TOWN Wooltru, the retail investment company, which is unbundling assets and winding down, is trading at a 25% discount to management's valuation of its remaining assets and liabilities.

CAPE TOWN Wooltru, the retail investment company, which is unbundling assets and winding down, is trading at a 25% discount to management's valuation of its remaining assets and liabilities.

This comes as investors weigh up the possibility of a payout in 18 months and the uncertainties over the liquidation of two CNA companies.

According to the group's results for the six months to December released yesterday, management estimates that cash on hand, the value of remaining properties to be sold and shares held by the share-purchase trust amount to about R178,9m.

The estimated cash outflow for the 18 months to the expected voluntary liquidation date of June 30 next year is expected to be about R12,7m.

This equates to a net asset value of about 36c a Wooltru share, compared with the current share price of 26c.

Wooltru's revenue is now derived from interest, property development and property rentals.

Results for the latest interim period cannot be compared with those of a year earlier as in the intervening months the group unbundled its significant holdings in Massmart, Woolworths Holdings and Truworths International to its shareholders, and also reduced its property portfolio.

The major area of uncertainty for Wooltru is the situation arising from the liquidation of two CNA companies last July and the commission of inquiry called by creditors into events surrounding CNA's collapse.

Wooltru sold CNA to Gordon Kay & Associates two years ago, and did not receive the final instalment of the purchase price, amounting to R73,8m.

Wooltru said it had proven claims of R76m with CNA's liquidators and had a potential controlling interest in CNA Holdings, not in liquidation, which it was seeking to sell.

Wooltru MD John Rabb said yesterday Wooltru's claims were not secured, which was why it had not made any assumption about recoveries from CNA in calculating its assets. He said that figures mentioned in the media of a possible recovery of 30c in the rand for CNA creditors were unsubstantiated.

Rabb said the commissioner of the inquiry had concluded there was no basis for any claim against Wooltru. A separate claim by a group of former CNA employees for retirement medical aid costs against Wooltru, amounting to about R20m, was a complex and confused situation. Wooltru disputed the claim and had not provided for it.

Wooltru passed its interim dividend, saying that once certainty was reached on the effect of CNA and timing of Wooltru's winding-up it would consider resuming interim dividends.

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Charlotte Mathews

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