Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

The calamitous collapse in the market capitalisation of a share as popular as the (once) mighty Steinhoff International does inevitably sharpen investors’ senses in detecting warning signs of pending value erosion.  In this light, the recently released interim results of Namibian-based investment company Trustco — like Steinhoff, a widely diversified counter — make for an intriguing scan. This is especially so because Trustco’s shares have defied gravity and more than doubled in price over the past 12 months. Unaudited interim numbers to end-September show earnings dropped by two-thirds to just 7c/share but did nothing to shake sentiment — though it must be said that Trustco shares are tightly held, with scant interest from mainstay institutional investors. Straight off, in the half-year to end-September Trustco reported much-reduced profit before tax of R28m (previously R150m). Profit after tax, though, came in at R53m (R168m last year), bolstered by a tax credit of R25m. The tax c...

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