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Coming just one week after Steinhoff released its much-anticipated 2017 annual report it’s impossible not to feel a sense of foreboding when Tongaat announces it is negotiating a standstill agreement with its banks. The issues plaguing Tongaat are in no way as formidable as those at Steinhoff, but there are indications that Tongaat’s communication with the outside world is not everything it is cracked up to be. How else can you explain the shock that appears to have greeted the cascade of grim news out of the group since former CEO Peter Staude left last October. A shock best revealed in the collapse of the share price.It must be a tad embarrassing for investment analysts who awarded Tongaat the prize for best communicator on the JSE at a ceremony last June.It must also cause a little discomfort to the banks and investors who might have been encouraged by the “multiple regular meetings” between themselves and the CEO, CFO and key executives referred to in Tongaat’s 2018 annual repor...

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