CEO Rob Kane in front of the Vunani offices, now known as Texton Property Fund. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
CEO Rob Kane in front of the Vunani offices, now known as Texton Property Fund. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Texton Property Fund’s board has thrown its weight behind the company’s management saying that takeover attempts by its former CEO Rob Kane won’t succeed. 

Kane wants to become a key shareholder in Texton and bring in a new managerial team, which he says will turnaround the company and help it compete with other listed small- to medium-cap real estate groups.

Kane was CEO of Vunani Property Investment Fund, which listed in 2011. A consortium bought its external  management contract in November 2013 and the fund was renamed Texton Property Fund in 2014. He left Texton in June 2015.

The board released a statement on Thursday saying it had full confidence in its directors, despite Kane having written a letter to shareholders a few weeks ago, motivating  for a takeover of the struggling company to take place, and for the replacement of five directors, including the acting CEO Marius Muller; the CFO Inge Pick; chair Dempsey Naidoo; and two non-executive directors Thys van Heerden and John Legh.

Kane said last week that he was close to gaining enough support from key institutional investors to bring about a takeover and changes to management, but the board said this was not true and that his plan lacked support.

“While the reports state that a number of shareholders have, off the record, verbalised their acceptance of Mr Kane’s takeover plans and are waiting for him to garner sufficient support, management has engaged with a significant number of institutional shareholders and retail investors who have rejected Mr Kane’s proposal,” the board said.

Texton has been one of the worst performing property stocks on a share price basis in recent years. Its price has plummeted from R12.14 on March 6 to R4 at the end of trade on Thursday. It has exposure to assets worth about R5.4bn and a market capitalisation of R1.5bn.

Naidoo has said he will not make himself available for re-election as a director at the upcoming AGM on November 27.

Texton’s board declined to be interviewed by Business Day on Thursday.

andersona@businesslive.co.za