PPC shareholder said to increase stake before meeting request

23 October 2014

PPC Ltd. shareholder Foord Asset Management has increased its stake in the South African cement maker to achieve the 10 percent support required to request a meeting to elect a new board.

During the week ending Oct. 17, Foord bought shares on the open market to boost its shareholding after an earlier request for a meeting was rejected. Foord will ask for a special shareholders meeting for a second time this week. Foord has Visio Capital Management’s support.

PPC is embroiled in a battle between the board and at least two shareholders over the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Ketso Gordhan last month. The board is dysfunctional, according to Foord, and is hampering the company’s expansion in Africa amid increasing competition in its domestic market. “Should we receive a competent request for a meeting then we will follow due process,” PPC’s Head of Investor Relations Azola Lowan said in an e-mailed response to questions today.

Foord shares Gordhan’s concerns that the board isn’t capable of carrying out the cement maker’s plans.

During the five days ending Oct. 17, about 30.4 million shares were traded, or 3.7 times more than the previous week. More than a third of the total was traded on Oct. 13, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

PPC shares fell 1 percent to 28.12 rand at the close in Johannesburg. The stock has declined about 13 percent since Gordhan’s resignation.

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