Construction company Aveng is one of the oldest shares on the JSE, having begun life an incredible 140 years ago. But its continued existence has been no sure thing these past few years and a recent trading update, which shows Aveng is clearly putting itself to rights, highlights the fact that it last made a full-year profit in 2014. Aveng shares imploded — the stock is down more than 96% from its 2007 peaks — largely because it took on too much debt amid a collapse in SA construction sector spend, and because of the 2015 bust in key commodity prices. But a succession of rights offers later — two this year alone — a mining boom and the slow recovery of its Australian construction firm, McConnell Dowell, mean Aveng is gradually emerging from the worst. The FM spoke to CEO Sean Flanagan and CFO Adrian Macartney.

Aveng is one of the hottest penny stocks right now — which is gratifying until you consider that the company was once a top 40 share and, more than a decade ago, the lar...

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