Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Under-fire property group Resilient has caved to market pressure, announcing an independent review of the group led by former auditor-general Shauket Fakie, on Friday.

Resilient’s share price has plummeted 48% since the start of year on allegations that it has spent years manipulating its shares and those of its associate companies, Fortress, Greenbay and Nepi Rockcastle

The company’s board said on Friday that the launch of the independent review was part of steps it was taking to tackle recent attacks on its reputation and credibility,

Resilient said it noted the consistent feedback from its shareholders that the cross-shareholdings between Resilient and Fortress should be unwound and that there was a need for Resilient to reconsider its relationship with broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) partner, Siyakha Education Trust.

Critics have said Resilient should consider merging with Fortress, of which it owns about 16%, and that it should consolidate Siyakha Trust into Resilient as it receives income from the B-BBEE scheme.

Fakie was auditor-general for seven years and has also been an independent director of Absa, served as chairperson of the UN Panel of External Auditors, and secretary-general for the Auditors General Association on the African continent.

Fund managers welcomed the announcement. "[Resilient] has to restore its reputation and credibility in the market as soon as possible," said Ian Anderson, chief investment officer at Bridge Fund Managers.

Analyst at Golden Section Capital, Garreth Elston, said the review needed to be extensive.

"It is a good step for the company to fully and independently review all allegations and commentaries, and we believe that complete openness is the only way to proceed. We would, though, ideally like to see the period under review cover the entire 2017 period, as there were trades mentioned in the report that occurred earlier than July 1 last year. Leaving no doubt would be the best way for the company to proceed with this matter."