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JOHANNESBURG - Business intelligence company PBT Group said yesterday that it was planning to dispose of some of its assets to focus its attention on becoming an information technology (IT) business following another profit loss.

PBT said that it had already entered into a memorandum of agreement with an acquiring consortium (AQC) to offload its Prescient Capital unit and other subsidiaries to contain the losses. The group said in terms of the memorandum, the consortium would purchase Prescient Capital and offer PBT some shares.

“In addition, the AQC will purchase the Prescient Holdings shares owned by the PBT Group from the PBT Group by offering the PBT Group shares owned by the AQC to the PBT Group,” PBT said. “After this transaction, PBT Group will be a focused IT business as Prescient Capital did not form part of the core business of the PBT Group.”

Prescient Capital was established as an investment holding company for the interests of the PBT Group outside of its traditional service offering. It consists of Prescient Property Holdings, PIB Risk Services and Stadia Capital.

Other assets it holds include properties in Johannesburg and Dublin, as well as a venture capital investment.

Yesterday, PBT reported a R139.4million after tax loss from continuing operations for the year to end March, up from R33.1m loss reported last year.

It said headline earnings per share of 4.62cents reported during the corresponding period last year turned into a 1.55c loss in the current year.

Headline loss a share from continuing operations also rose to 1.35c from 0.80c and headline loss a share from discontinued operations of 0.2c as compared to headline earnings a share of 5.42c as compared to last year.

Revenue from continuing operations declined to R556.1m, down from R563.8m.

The group did not declare a dividend during the year.

PBT has presence in South Africa, Australia, Middle East, Africa and the UK.

Growing

“The South African operations continued to produce satisfactory growth in revenue and profit, and we are pleased to report growing demand for our services,” the group said.

The group also recorded R30.54m in profit, up from R19.50m reported last year.

It said it experienced a subdued year, particularly in Australia, and would accept lower margin contracts to grow the business beyond the two major clients.

“However, this will provide us with the opportunity to expand into normal margin business in these clients.

"A significant amount of time and cost was spent on proposals and pre-sales initiatives and we hope to profit from these efforts in future,” the group said. Profits in Australia declined to R1.69m from R4.22m.

In the Middle East/Africa region, the group reported a loss after tax of R46.4m.

“The negative trading environment in this segment of our business necessitated complete reduction of exposure to this region. Accordingly, we are pleased to report that we have reduced this exposure by 80percent,” the group added.

PBT shares closed unchanged on the JSE yesterday at 13c.

- BUSINESS REPORT