A Tongaat Hulett sugar cane field. Picture: BLOOMBER/WALDO SWIEGERS
A Tongaat Hulett sugar cane field. Picture: BLOOMBER/WALDO SWIEGERS

Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett, which had a negative net asset value of R3bn at the end of March, said on Wednesday that it would only seek to have the suspension of its share on the JSE lifted in 2020.

The company will wait until issuing a trading update for its six months to end-September, given the extent and complexity of remedial actions, internal cost-cutting plans and other restructuring initiatives undertaken by the board and management since the end of March, the company said.

This update is expected to be released in the second half of January, it said.

Tongaat had requested the suspension of its shares in June, saying it could not be sure of the underlying value of its assets, and that it was seeking to avoid speculative trading until it restated its past financial results.

It said that at the end of November it would pursue claims against 10 executives, after a PwC probe identified a number of undesirable accounting practices.

The PwC investigation identified practices that led to revenue being recognised in earlier reporting periods than it should have been, and expenses being inappropriately capitalised to assets.

This led to overstatement of profits, while there was a “culture of deference” that resulted in employees not questioning accounting practices, the company said in a statement of the findings of the probe.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za