AYO Technology Solutions Chief executive Howard Plaatjes. Picture: Ian Landsberg/ African News Agency (ANA).
AYO Technology Solutions Chief executive Howard Plaatjes. Picture: Ian Landsberg/ African News Agency (ANA).

Strong support sees AYO shares rocket

By Edward West Time of article published Jan 15, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - THE SHARE price of the largest listed black-owned ICT firm, AYO Technology Solutions (AYO), with a net asset value of R5 billion, has rocketed in recent days as the group appeared to attract renewed interest from investors.

The closely held shares experienced a high degree of volatility on low volumes this week, rising as much as 400 percent to R30 a share at one point on Monday, before settling around R20 yesterday.

The share price has been undervalued, considering the net asset value, growth potential and consistent dividends the company has paid since listing. Many of AYO’s underlying subsidiaries have over two decades of trading, with strong delivery track records, which may be eliciting renewed interest given the growing dependence on technology as the backbone of how the world functions.

Chief executive Howard Plaatjes said yesterday that they were cautiously pleased that the share price had moved in the right direction, and that some astute investors were seeing the value in the high cash and net asset value per share.

“However, the markets must do what they do. Our focus is to continue to unlock our real value and conclude pending acquisitions. Our businesses are well positioned to realise AYO’s full potential in this technological era, with work-from-home solutions, and a number of other strategic assets that play to the accelerated adoption of 4IR on the continent. With our cash on hand, we are also seeking further good investments to augment our offering.”

To date the company had paid the Public Investment Commission the primary asset manager of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), upwards of R180 million in dividends, underlining that AYO was one of only a few companies to have paid GEPF a dividend during the Covid-19 pandemic era.

Earlier this week Plaatjes asked the JSE to probe the movements in the share price, as the group was not aware of any specific trades being made by significant shareholders that could influence the sudden upswing in the price.

AYO has previously complained to both the JSE and FSCA about certain asset managers manipulating and shorting the share price for their own purposes. This complaint was lodged in 2019.

BUSINESS REPORT

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