ZSE suspends Hippo Valley

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has suspended sugar firm, Hippo Valley Estates Limited (HVEL) from trading on the local bourse for failing to publish its audited financial results for the year-ended March 31, 2019.

According to the ZSE, HVEL failed to publish its audited financial statements on August 14, 2019, as previously communicated to the shareholders in a notice dated July 31, 2019.

“The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (‘ZSE’) advises members of the investing public that it has put a halt in the trading of Hippo Valley Estates Limited’s (‘Hippo’) shares on the ZSE according to Clause 4.13.2 of the ZSE Trading Rules and Procedures. This development has been necessitated by a formal request made by Hippo for the suspension of trading in its securities after it failed to publish its audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2019 as per the previous public notices,” ZSE chief executive officer Justin Bgoni said in a statement yesterday.

“The ZSE has now formally requested the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ) to consider the application for the suspension in terms of section 64(a)(ii) of the Securities and Exchange Act, Chapter 24:25, as amended. The investing public will be advised of the determination by SECZ as soon as it becomes available.”

In a letter dated August 14, 2019, the ZSE said HVEL requested for a further extension to delay the publication of its audited financial statements to October 31, 2019, but the local bourse refused to grant the extension.

The refusal was due to it being HVEL’s third request to delay the publication of its audited financial statements, which were due originally by June 30, 2019.

As such, HVEL was ordered to publish the audited financial results before August 19, 2019 as a corrective measure, which has not happened.

However, the delay could have something to do with HVEL’s parent company, the South Africa-based Tongaat Hulett Limited (THL).

In June, THL announced that the group’s audited consolidated financial statements for the year-ended March 31, 2018, were untrustworthy.

As a result, the group said the reliance on the company’s trading statement for the year-ended March 31, 2019 could also not be trusted.

This led to THL making a voluntary suspension of its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange after discussions with them as well as THL’s auditors, forensic investigative team, legal advisors and management.

Under the new ZSE listing requirements, introduced in June under SI 134 of 2019, HVEL is now liable to a penalty fine of $5 000 for late submission of audited annual accounts.

“The penalty shall be payable within 30 days from the due date and, thereafter, the penalty shall accrue at the rate of $25 per day for a maximum of 30 days following which further action will be taken,” SI 134 of 2019 reads.

Part of this further action includes censure from the ZSE and further fines.

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