THE curtain will fall on IT firm Gijima next week as it bows out of the JSE. Shares in the company, controlled by businessman Robert Gumede, were suspended on Monday following a shareholder vote in favour of the buyout of minorities by Gumede’s Guma Investments.

The delisting ends an era dating back to the late 1990s, when the company was known as Advanced Software Technologies. The name was changed in 2010 after Gumede bought a controlling stake. The delisting does not mean the end for Gijima as the company aims to continue its turnaround and reclaim lost ground out of the public eye.

Gijima has been mired in controversy in recent years and although it has worked hard to shake off the negative perception, along the way it lost favour with minority investors, who did not take up last year’s rights issue. Operating under the radar might be a good move for the time being.

The delisting of Gijima and an expected similar move by Business Connexion — if its takeover by Telkom gets regulatory approval — will further shrink the JSE’s small software and computer services sector. Some listed technology firms are listed on the AltX but they do not seem to be attracting investors looking for high returns at present.

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THE recent xenophobic violence has put off some African delegates who had registered for the Coatings for Africa 2015 exhibition at the Sandton Convention Centre next month, according to the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (Sapma).

Several global authorities in the coatings industry are scheduled to present papers at the symposium and trade exhibition from May 11 to 13, the largest event of its kind on the African continent.

It is to be jointly presented by Sapma and the Oil and Colour Chemists’ Association.

Sapma executive director Deryck Spence said the association had received several phone calls and emails from registered delegates from countries such as Nigeria and Kenya enquiring about their safety while in SA.

They also voiced dismay at the violence against their countrymen.

"It looks as if many of these delegates are now seriously thinking of cancelling … which would be a severe setback for the SA coatings industry’s efforts to expand operations and export products to other African countries."

Spence said that the government had to realise a continuation of the violence against foreigners would probably destroy foreign investor confidence.

"Even if the violence abates, the attitude displayed by South African ethnic leaders towards other African countries will harm future relationships when it comes to exporting products and services."

Dave Marrs edits Company Comment (marrsd@bdfm.co.za)

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