I was asked by the editor for updates on two stocks that have been beaten up by the market in 2018. One is consumer electrical and satellite services provider Ellies Holdings, a micro-cap with a market value of R118m and trading at 20c at time of writing, down 48% year to date. The other is agricultural investment fund Zeder Investments, now on a 20% discount and a share price of 470c. It has suffered via its large holding in Pioneer Foods, and Zeder has fallen 31% in 2018. Ellies Holdings’ fall has been epic. Listed on the JSE’s Alt-X market in 2007 at 200c a share, Ellies ran to 990c by 2013. But in 2013 it was becoming clear the wheels were falling off. What caused the calamity was the realisation that a large Eskom contract would not be renewed; and signs of early cracks at the R180m infrastructure 2008 acquisition of Megatron. Piles of debt, bloodcurdling losses from Megatron and a weak consumer environment nearly sunk Ellies between 2014 and 2017. A reprieve by its bankers and...

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