It was almost as though "Steinhoff — the R200bn disaster" had never happened; as though the company had not until recently been called Steinhoff Africa Retail (Star). Without any pesky activist shareholder, notably Theo Botha, to ask questions, this week’s AGM at Pepkor, formerly known as Star, was done and dusted within 29 minutes. That included nine minutes trying, unsuccessfully, to sort out a faulty microphone system. Not one question was asked, not one issue raised and all the resolutions were overwhelmingly supported. Even the remuneration report scored an enviable 94% backing. It was, as chair Jayendra Naidoo described it, a smooth AGM. All of which was probably not surprising, given that Steinhoff holds 71% of the shares and Naidoo’s BEE company Lancaster 101 — which is backed by the Public Investment Corp (PIC) — another 9%. And as we know, powerful institutional shareholders such as Coronation and Old Mutual (which feature among the remaining shareholders) prefer to engage...

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