Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Construction group Basil Read would survive for the foreseeable future, thanks to a strong order book containing two years’ work as well as attractive funding options, said acting CEO Khathutshelo Mapasa.

He said the company would return to profitability in its 2018 financial year, despite market concern about its ability to fund its survival.

Basil Read released a torrid set of results for the six months to June, reporting a headline loss per share of 295.16c, from earnings per share of 53.39c for the period a year earlier. The loss per share amounted to 360.9c, compared with earnings per share of 55.08c. A taxed loss of R474.1m reflected a tax expense of R21.2m, which was incurred mainly from profit generated in subsidiaries abroad.

Turnover fell 8.7%, to R2.3bn, from R2.5bn as a result of eliminating unprofitable businesses.

Basil Read’s share price fell as low as 78c in recent months, with a R105m market cap.

Mapasa said the firm was planning a rights offer to raise R200m to R300m as part of a plan to ease "critically tight" liquidity and fund operations.

"Our order book rose from R10.4bn at June 30 last year to R10.7bn. This includes R3.1bn of construction work, R1.9bn for roads and also R1bn from developments. Mining-related work accounts for R4.7bn. We will be profitable by the end of our 2018 financial year," said Mapasa.

Basil Read is in the process of appointing a permanent CEO, following the departure of Neville Nicolau in May

andersona@businesslive.co.za

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