JOHANNESBURG – Fund manager Ankh Analytic sold its entire stake in BK One on the day Basileus Capital CEO Julian Williams was shot.
The sale was a very lucky escape for Ankh, because BK One’s portfolio consists of four Basileus-related companies. One of these companies, Tor Construction, has already been placed under provisional liquidation in the fallout of Williams’s death. The remaining three companies are in a precarious position after Basileus initiated business rescue proceedings.
Julian Williams was shot by his former business partner Herman Pretorius, who left behind a R3.1bn pyramid scheme. The incident took place on July 26. On the same day, 1.4m BK One preference shares changed hands at around R10 a share. The trade, worth about R14m, comprised 7% of all BK One pref shares in issue.
On July 30, Moneyweb asked BK One CEO Dean Richards to identify the seller of the 1.4m shares. Despite repeated follow-up requests, Richards has so far failed to name the parties to the trade.
Richards did say that the timing of the trade was a coincidence. “I did check with the parties and that was a trade that was decided on more than two weeks before the [shooting] incident,” said Richards. “It was essentially a fund that was rebalancing so the timing was a coincidence. The parties don’t really want to get involved or disclose further information.”
BK One’s shareholder register shows that Ankh owned 1 404 000 shares at June 30, 2012. This is exactly the same number of shares that traded on the date Williams was shot. Thus Ankh is almost certainly the seller. The identity of the buyer remains a mystery.
At the time of writing Ankh director and portfolio manager Cobus Kellerman had not responded to Moneyweb’s requests for comment.
BK One was the biggest holding in each of these funds. In the stable fund it comprised 5.7% of total assets. In the prudential fund it comprised 5.9%.
It is difficult to understand why BK One was such a big holding in each fund. The Ankh funds are marketed as sensible, low-to-medium risk investments suitable for retirement money.
In contrast, BK One was always going to be a risky addition to any portfolio. It is the type of stock you might expect to find in a small-companies fund. BK One’s underlying investments are all in the early stages of development and none are (or were) profitable.
Furthermore, Basileus and its CEO Williams did not have a solid track record. Probably the most successful investment developed by Williams was platinum junior Wesizwe. Shares in Wesizwe were sold to private investors at R6 a share between December 2004 and October 2005. Wesizwe listed in 2006. The share hit a high of more than R10 in 2008 but has since slumped to its current level of 68c.
Ankh director and fund manager Cobus Kellerman is no fool. He graduated with a major in mathematical statistics from the University of Stellenbosch and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst, one of the most prestigious qualifications in the investment industry.