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It’s not disclosed in Remgro’s financial results or mentioned in the investment presentations — but the investment group is still earning smouldering returns from an "oorskot" holding in British American Tobacco (BAT). The old Rembrandt group (the predecessor to Remgro) was built on tobacco, a product which these days is severely frowned upon. Remgro and Richemont, 10 years ago, officially unbundled their respective stakes in BAT with new investment company Reinet retaining a meaningful minority stake in the tobacco giant. So it might come as a surprise that Remgro still holds 1.25-million BAT shares. These shares were technically inherited — and were attached to Remgro shares repurchased and held in treasury following a share buyback exercise that preceded the unbundling of the tobacco interests in 2008. By my calculation the BAT shares are worth about R850m — bigger than some of the more marginal investments Remgro discloses in its investment portfolio. Though the value of the BAT...

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