Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Are we looking at a version of Warren Buffett’s comment about the tide and naked swimmers? And if so, is it possible the tide is not yet fully out and there are lots more naked swimmers still to be discovered? What a grim thought. The latest to join the list of naked swimmers is of course Tongaat, whose share price plunged to a 25-year low this week when its brave new CEO announced rather coyly that he had called in PwC to help with a comprehensive review of "certain practices". These practices might require remedial actions, said the company in a wholly unexpected cautionary announcement. And this remedial action might affect previously reported financial information. Without wanting to prejudge the matter — which we in the media are inclined to do — wading through the soft-spoken legalese does prompt the worry that Tongaat shareholders might be facing the permanent wipeout of a whole load of value as the result of the use of previous suspect (that’s journalese for "inappropriate")...

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