The dour trading conditions on the JSE do, ironically, offer some — albeit in certain cases short-term — upside potential in the form of special situations. This can entail an unlocking of value, when new shareholders take control of an underperforming company or ensure they have influence over a company’s strategic direction. It has occurred at services group Adcorp and technology conglomerate Allied Electronics Corp (Altron). There is a similar effort under way at empowerment counter Grand Parade Investments (GPI), where activist shareholders are hoping to close a huge discount on the group’s intrinsic value. In the case of Adcorp and Altron, the intervention of an influential shareholder has already put some pep in the share prices. At GPI there has been a slight uptick in the share price since the activist shareholders’ intentions were declared, but there is still some caution, as the process of gaining board influence will be decided only at the end of this month. In tough trad...

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