Full steam ahead for Grand Parade Investments, as shareholders overwhelmingly endorse JSE listing

Empowerment investment company Grand Parade Investments Limited (GPI) is on track to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange before year-end, following a ringing endorsement of the plan last night by its shareholders. More than 600 GPI community shareholders who had gathered at GrandWest Casino's Market Hall for a landmark GPI annual general meeting, voted in favour of nine ordinary resolutions and four special resolutions, including: that GPI's share capital be increased from R100 000 to R500 000; that GPI's authorized and issued ordinary shares be sub-divided on a 1-for-4 basis; that GPI's Articles of Association be replaced with new Articles of Association that comply with JSE listing regulations; and that GPI be authorized to purchase its own and subsidiaries' shares in accordance with the provisions of Sections 85 to 89 of the Companies Act. Spontaneous applause broke out as GPI chairman Hassen Adams told the shareholders how he and Shaun Rai, whose Cape Empowerment Trust (CET) – a major shareholder in GPI – had been involved in litigation with GPI relating to a CET takeover bid, had buried the hatchet in last-minute, late-night negotiations. All legal action has subsequently been dropped, removing another stumbling block to GPI's listing on the JSE. “All the hostility and litigation is over," said Adams. He explained that GPI and CET had signed an agreement to work together, as non-cooperation would result in shareholders suffering. In turn, Rai – who seconded several of the resolutions put to the shareholders – was applauded when he told the meeting that CET had no more concerns about GPI, “and we would want to support this company in its bid to list (on the JSE)". The shareholders then proceeded to overwhelmingly vote in favour of all four special resolutions, further paving the way for a listing. No fewer than 96.7% of shareholders approved the increase in GPI's authorized share capital, 99.4% voted for the share split, 99.2% approved the replacement of the Articles of Association, and 99.4% approved authorization for GPi to buy its own and subsidiaries' shares. Shareholder approval of GPI's plans to list on the JSE and the announcement of the resolution of the dispute with CET follow on the heels of news last week that the Competition Commission and the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board had given a listing their seal of approval. A further requirement for listing revolves around GPI obtaining voting control in SunWest, which owns GrandWest and the Table Bay Hotel, in a deal that is worth R231-million. “This is a very exciting time for GPI and its shareholders. Not only are they to receive a dividend of 30c per share, but their shares – which are worth R17 each at present – will significantly increase in value once the company has listed. In addition, GPI has plans expand its interests beyond the Western Cape, and the next few years hold the potential for even more fruitful dividends. It is wonderful to see how ordinary people are benefiting from this unique community shareholder initiative," Adams said today.