JSE, Bots Stock Exchange suspend Choppies

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) building in Sandton. It has operated as a market place for the trading of financial products for nearly 125 years.

THE Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges have suspended trading of Choppies’ shares pending clarification over the supermarket chain’s failure to release financial results for the year ended 30 June 2018.

The giant retailer has been recently embroiled in nasty shareholder disputes, which have spilled to courts in Zimbabwe and heavily tainted the company’s image. In a joint notice to shareholders yesterday Choppies listing agents confirmed the suspension.

“Shareholders are advised that the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has halted trading in the shares of the company with immediate effect,” reads the notice.

“The reason for the halt is in order for the company to provide clarification to the market in respect of the announcement released on Friday, 21 September 2018, with regards to the delay in publication of the financial results for the year ended 30 June 2018. The company will provide the necessary clarification later today (yesterday) as requested.”

A senior official from the local unit also confirmed the development. Choppies’ primary listing is on the Botswana Stock Exchange and its secondary listing is on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Yesterday South African publication Business Day reported that Choppies’ share price fell as much as 85 percent this week after the Botswana-based food retailer said it would miss a deadline to publish its financial results for the year to June. Choppies expanded its footprint in South Africa in 2015 and competes with the likes of Shoprite and Boxer.

The Johannesburg-and Botswana-listed company had 71 stores in South Africa in 2017, making the country its second-largest market after Botswana. It also operates in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The group, which is reportedly in a dispute about its shareholding structure in Zimbabwe, said “a number of matters requiring the attention of the board and management, which may impact materially on the results, are being considered, reported Business Day.

“The possible reporting impacts of these matters have not yet been finally and fully determined,” the company said in a statement, adding it would miss the reporting deadline of September 30 2018.