Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

Shareholders in Wescoal must be a bit baffled by recent developments. In late October 2018 the company — which has been delivering decent profits for a number of years — joined a consortium that was bidding to take over SA-operated but Australian-owned Universal Coal. The market never seemed too fond of this foray, and the share price ebbed from more than 200c near the end of October to about 144c at the end of March. Last week the consortium pulled its Universal pitch after being outbid by materials and minerals conglomerate Afrimat. Interestingly, the Wescoal share price — at the time of writing — hardly blipped in reaction to this. I had thought the market, which apparently did not like the proposed transaction in the first place, might have been relieved that Wescoal was not going to be party to a bidding war against Afrimat. There must surely, with the benefit of hindsight, be some recognition that Wescoal was involved in a bid for well-priced and potentially very profitable co...

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