RESTRUCTURING PLAN TIMIMG SET; REQUEST MADE TO JSE TO SUSPEND SHARE TRADING
15 July 2022
Tongaat Hulett today informed shareholders that the company’s newly established restructuring committee will present the restructuring plan to the Tongaat board by 30 September 2022. The comprehensive restructuring plan seeks to improve liquidity levels, reduce debt to sustainable levels and provide clarity on a way forward for the company to all stakeholders.
As both the Board and the auditor need more certainty around the debt refinancing and balance sheet restructuring, Tongaat is unable to release its provisional annual financial results for the financial year ended 31 March 2022 by 30 June 2022 as required by the JSE.
A longer-term financial solution is required for Tongaat Hulett’s audited annual financial statements to be finalised, and this is largely dependent on the outcome of the restructuring plan. While every effort is being made to finalise the restructuring plan as soon as possible, it is clear that neither the Provisional 2022 Financial Statements nor the Audited 2022 Financial Statements will be finalised by 31 July 2022.
As a longer-term financial solution is required for the results to be released, Tongaat has applied to the JSE to have trading in its shares voluntarily suspended. A suspension would protect the interests of current and potential shareholders as the company engages with multiple parties on solutions to progress the restructuring.
The JSE issued a SENS earlier today confirming that it is considering the request for suspension received from the Board and stating that it will communicate its decision on the possible suspension as soon as possible.
A suspension would have no material impact on the company’s financial stability or its business operations.
To allow sufficient time and resources to complete the restructuring plan, the Company is in final negotiations with the South African lender group to replace the Company’s seasonal overdraft facility with a larger short-term ‘borrowing base’ liquidity facility.
The lender group remains supportive of Tongaat Hulett and we are currently engaging with them and other parties to provide liquidity, giving us additional time to work to progress a comprehensive restructuring solution.
The company is committed to open and transparent engagement with all its stakeholders, and to working to resolve the challenges that confront this critically important business.
Shareholders will be updated on developments and further announcements will be made as and when appropriate.
Gavin Hudson, CEO of Tongaat Hulett said: “We have generated further momentum in the restructuring process with a clear timeline and new resources to deliver the restructuring plan at the end of September. We are grateful to our employees who are focussed on producing sugar as efficiently as possible. This plan will be critical in addressing our liquidity needs, reducing our debt to more sustainable levels and providing our employees and stakeholders with much-needed clarity. In the meantime, we remain committed to our employees, suppliers, customers, and wider stakeholders.”
“Tongaat’s request made to the JSE for the voluntary suspension of trading in our shares is a purely procedural decision which would protect shareholders and stakeholders as we engage widely to progress our restructuring plans. By progressing a comprehensive restructuring solution, we are working to create a long-term future for the company, and the half a million people which depend on it across Southern Africa,” Hudson continued.