Marcel Golding. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Marcel Golding. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

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The Investment week

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It remains a pipe dream as to whether empowerment pioneer Marcel Golding can emulate in his new venture(s) the enormous success of Hosken Consolidated Investments, the investment company he previously chaired and co-founded.

But it’s definitely worth noting that Golding has, perhaps unsurprisingly, increased his stake in construction and engineering firm Esor to 42.39%.

Golding, who generally prefers to stay out of the media limelight, appears to be constructing a most intriguing investment portfolio of mainly under-the-radar counters, including influential stakes in fashion retailer Rex Trueform and financial services boutique Vunani.

As regards Esor, Golding last week bought out Kamal Parabhu Natha, who has made a fairly nifty return on his initial investment (secured at levels close to the 25c mark).

Golding, though, is clearly in Esor for the long run, having already admitted to being excited about the potential of the company’s piping business in terms of latching onto increased demand for water solutions services.

Now that Golding is large and in-charge at Esor, it will be interesting to see whether he brings any complementary "water" businesses into the mix.

There are rumours — predictably.

Meanwhile, minority shareholders in Esor (my dear wife included) will be mulling a mandatory buyout offer from Golding’s investment company, Geomer, that has been pitched at 38c/share.

Considering the speculative gush for Esor that has pushed the share price over 45c, the chance of minorities tapping out is extremely slim. About 15% of Esor’s "significant minorities" — including former prime mover Bernie Krone and CEO Wessel van Zyl — have indicated they will not accept Geomer’s offer.

Sometimes you really have to curb your cynicism. But it was extremely difficult not to cast a jaundiced eye over boutique hotel business Gooderson Leisure’s downbeat trading update, released not long after the controlling shareholder pitched a buyout offer at a huge discount to the company’s tangible net asset value (NAV).

Some Gooderson minorities might well feel the trading statement is an attempt to justify the low valuation suggested for the buyout of minorities by writing down the value of its properties.

Gooderson’s end-August NAV — previously stated at 157c/share — will be key to contemplating the 65c/share buyout offer.

But at a time when minority shareholders are more inclined to flex their muscles, Gooderson might have a hard time convincing the market that its buyout intentions are fair and reasonable.

Venturing forth boldly

While investment behemoth Remgro is contemplating needle-moving corporate action at stalwart investments Mediclinic International and Distell, there are some really interesting developments at venture capital subsidiary Invenfin.

Invenfin’s portfolio has all of a sardine grown to 10 investments, ranging from food and beverages — Bos Brands (rooibos tea soft-drinks) and De Villiers Chocolate to Ad Dynamo (Twitter’s exclusive advertising sales partner in Africa) and health informatics company LifeQ.

The collective value might not tally up to even 1% of Remgro’s total portfolio.

This raises the question of whether it’s worth keeping such an array of intriguing entrepreneurial investments buried under Remgro’s many larger investments.

Obviously the food companies, once they reach critical mass in terms of operational span and profitability, could be nudged towards RCL Foods.

The other Invenfin bits could also mostly find homes eventually in Remgro’s bigger investment silos — health care, industrial and media.

But would listing Invenfin be completely out of the question for Remgro?