Brian Joffe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Brian Joffe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Image:

Brian Joffe’s investment group, Long4Life, says it spent R122m of its cash pile on buying back its own shares because the stock had become cheap.

Long4Life said it had bought back 3% of its issued share capital. It paid an average price of R4.39 for the shares, which it sold during its initial public offering in April 2017, raising R2bn.

Joffe told investors in October that buying back stock did not make sense and that the group was still looking for acquisitions as it was “only about half invested”.

But senior executive Brad Webber said last week the group’s share decline meant buybacks had become attractive. The share price fell below R4.50 after reaching a high of R6.40 in March.

“It’s not to say that we haven’t got enough projects on the table to go and invest in, but the share price just got to a level over the past two weeks or so that it just made complete sense,” Webber said.

Long4Life would use some of the shares for its forfeitable share plan, he said.

Since listing, Long4Life has spent R3.4bn on deals. Its acquisitions include Holdsport’s Sportsmans Warehouse, Outdoor Warehouse and Performance Brands, as well as Sorbet, Inhle Beverages and Chill Beverages.

Joffe said in October valuations of target companies remained steep.

The company had net cash on its books of R929m at the end of August, as well as unused debt facilities. Joffe said at the time there was "no merit" in funding deals with equity because the group was trading at a discount to net asset value of over 20%.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za