Jens Montanana. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Jens Montanana. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Datatec’s share price fell as much as 44% to a low of R31.61 on Wednesday morning from Tuesday’s R56 closing price.

This drop equated to R24.39, which is more than the R23 in cash or shares that shareholders on its register on Tuesday are scheduled to receive.

Because of the hefty tax South Africans are now charged on dividends — it was raised to 20% from 15% in the tax year under way — Datatec offered its shareholders the alternative of receiving 67.2 new shares for every 100 shares held in lieu of R23 cash before tax.

The scrip alternative, however, was limited to 63.5-million new shares. The special dividend followed Datatec’s decision to distribute $350m of the money it received from the sales of various subsidiaries.

Datatec said in interim results released in November that it sold Westcon Americas and 10% of Westcon International to Synnex Corporation for up to $830m. It also sold the Dutch operation of Logicalis for $42m.

"In the near term, we plan to return $350m of cash to shareholders in a structured way to give them maximum flexibility and in due course return to shareholders any deferred cash consideration from the sale of Westcon Americas," CEO Jens Montanana said in the interim results statement.

"The outlook for Logicalis, which contributed most of our profits, is increasingly positive with a number of important developments set to support an overall improvement in the second half of the financial year. We are moving rapidly to create the appropriate structure in Westcon International to support the direction of the business."