The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) did not overpay when it controversially invested in Iqbal Survé's new empowerment IT firm Ayo Technology Solutions, says one of the portfolio managers responsible for the valuation. Testifying at the commission of inquiry into the PIC on Monday, portfolio manager Sunil Varghese said the initial valuation process of Ayo led to a “base case value of R43 per share”. This is in contrast with earlier testimony from Varghese’s subordinate Victor Seanie, who testified in January that the “excessive” R43 a share was set by Ayo and was non-negotiable. The PIC invested R4.3bn in the technology firm. Two months later the stock fell to R25 on the JSE, where it is now trading at R16. Ayo is also the subject of a probe by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) for possible insider trading and share-price manipulation. The PIC, which manages more than R2-trillion in assets on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and other social secu...

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