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The reasons for the continued existence of holding company RMB Holdings (RMH), which has an influential stake in banking giant FirstRand as its main asset, remain flimsy. And initial efforts to diversify by investing in property don’t provide too much inspiration. Yes, the property segment has grown by acquisition — but the intrinsic value of about R2bn pales in comparison with the R122bn value accorded to the FirstRand stake. In fact, the intrinsic value of the property segment amounts to less than a quarter of RMH’s share of normalised earnings from FirstRand. There is a long way to go before investors recognise RMH as an investment company rather than a holding company or proxy for FirstRand. This perception won’t be helped by RMH’s recently released final results, which show that 49%-owned urban renewal specialist Propertuity "materially underperformed against expectations". RMH admits underestimating the operational complexity of expanding the business, and a full impairment wa...

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