EOH considers the sale after the return to profit

EOH Holdings CEO Stephen Van Coller is considering selling the graft-tainted South African IT company after returning the group to profitability, according to people familiar with the matter.

The former Absa Group and MTN Group executive is seeking advice on how to evaluate the company, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the plan is not public. No final decisions have been made and options other than a divestiture could still be considered, they said.

“We are exploring all opportunities to maximize shareholder value,” Van Coller said in an email response to questions on the subject. “Now that we are making a profit, this has opened up many opportunities for shareholders.”

The shares reversed their decline to trade up 0.4% at 2:20 pm in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The deliberations come nearly four years after the chief executive was appointed to try to overthrow Johannesburg-based EOH, which later emerged to have previously been involved in a series of government-related corruption scandals that emerged after Microsoft Corp. ties broken in early 2019.

The turbulence has put pressure on the stock, which has plummeted 86% since 2018, valuing EOH at R952 million. This even after reporting a positive return to earnings per share in the six months to January.

sue the directors

Van Coller oversaw a mass departure of executives, including founders, and the company said last year it would seek to sue former directors for more than R6 billion.

EOH has also sold more than 80 entities in the past 30 months, reducing gross debt from R4.1 billion to R1.65 billion, Van Coller said Wednesday. An additional 500 million Rand is expected to flow into corporate suitcases in the next six months of the divestments, he said.

The company’s poor market valuation is prompting Van Coller and the board to look into options, including potential sale, people said. The CEO might see the company performs better than a private entity, they said.

Shareholders “must lead the board on what they want us to do in the next phase of growth,” the CEO said.

Reading: EOH reveals progress in the turnaround