Nepi Rockcastle bays for Viceroy’s blood
European mall owner wants market authorities in SA and the Netherlands to probe short seller
Shopping centre owner and member of the Resilient group of companies, Nepi Rockcastle, has asked authorities in SA and Europe to investigate share trades prior to the release of a damning report by research firm Viceroy, on Wednesday last week.
In the report, Viceroy accused Nepi of inflating profits. Another report released on Thursday this week questioned the transparency of Nepi’s corporate governance as well as accused the company of not following Romanian tax law correctly.
“Following the publication of a report on Nepi Rockcastle by Viceroy Research, and further to our various announcements in response thereto, the company has made a written submission to each of the JSE Limited, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority in SA, the Dutch authority for the financial markets and Euronext Amsterdam requesting inter alia an investigation into trading in Nepi Rockcastle shares in the days leading up to and immediately following the publication of the Viceroy Report,” Nepi said.
It said it had “discredited with full transparency all accusations and allegations made” in the first report through a response it published, and that the only purpose of that report was “to knowingly disseminate false and or misleading information”.
Nepi wanted the authorities to investigate any market manipulation offences that may have occurred in terms of the Financial Markets Act 2012, in SA and the Dutch Financial Supervision Act, in the Netherlands.
Attempts to contact Viceroy’s founder, Fraser Perring were unsuccessful.
The latest allegations by Viceroy against Nepi follow similar concerns raised by shareholders.
A group of institutional investors sent a letter in August to the Resilient companies — Resilient, Fortress, Nepi and Greenbay — asking for an independent investigation by a major auditing firm. Only Fortress has complied with this demand.
All four companies’ share prices plummeted in January amid allegations that they inflated their profits and share prices through insider trading and related party deals.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is investigating all four companies.