Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources and Energy’s share price plummeted by more than 90% on the JSE on Wednesday, the same day that hackers attacked the company’s websites and shut them down, although the two incidents weren’t related.
The JSE-listed company was trading R20,86 lower at R2,14/share, with only 30 shares trading hands.
Normally, the JSE freezes any listed company whose share price dives by over 30% in a single session. However, the JSE said Oakbay is listed in the ZA03 segment of the market and this segment does not have “circuit breaker” alerts.
“Oakbay is an extremely illiquid instrument that trades very rarely,” the JSE said.
“At the time of today’s trade, the spread (difference between buying and selling orders) was R2,14 to R23, a person wished to sell 30 shares and the best bid was R2,14. There is nothing that raises questions about this trade.”
Oakbay Resources and Energy, which published its results last week, made a loss of R16,9m in 2016, which it said is a 56% improvement from 2015’s loss of R38,9m.
This caused a headline loss of 0,68c/share for the year ended 29 February 2016, up 96,4% from last year’s loss of 18,78c/share, the company said in a statement.
The nosedive in the company’s shares came as hacktivists shut down many of the Gupta-owned websites.
Anonymous Africa said it was attempting to down websites of Gupta-linked media outlets ANN7 and The New Age on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Anonymous Africa tweeted: “At 12[pm,] the ANN7 website will be too busy landing at Waterkloof Denial of Service Airfield to see visitors. #TickTock.”
By 3.10pm on Wednesday, the websites of The New Age, ANN7, Sahara Computers and Oakbay Investments were offline.
Spokespeople at ANN7 and The New Age could not be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
The Guptas resigned from all business positions this year, including those at Oakbay Energy and Resources, after they pulled out of their high-profile positions as a result of political and business pressure.
Ajay and Atul Gupta were the co-chairs of Oakbay Investments, while Atul was the chair of Oakbay Resources and Energy.
Varun Gupta was the CEO of Oakbay Resources and Energy, while Duduzane Zuma (President Jacob Zuma’s son) was a director of Shiva Uranium. He also resigned.
The family has come under increasing pressure due to allegations that they influenced Zuma’s appointment of mines minister Mosebenzi Zwane and former finance minister Des van Rooyen, as well as offering ministerial posts to deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.
“By stepping down from all executive and nonexecutive positions and any involvement in the business, we hope to save the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in our great rainbow nation,” the Guptas said.
New auditors, but no sponsor
In April, Oakybay Resources and Energy announced the appointment of SizweNtsalubaGobodo as its new auditors after KPMG cut ties with the company this year. However, it has yet to find a replacement for Sasfin, who cut ties as the company’s JSE sponsor. It has also been blacklisted from all of South Africa’s top banks.
KPMG Southern Africa CEO Trevor Hoole told staff that “the recent media and political interest in the Gupta family, together with comments and questions from various stakeholders … has required us to evaluate the continued provision of our services to this group”.
That followed increasing political heat this year due to allegations that they influenced Zuma’s appointment of Zwane as mines minister and Van Rooyen as short-lived finance minister, as well as offering ministerial posts to Jonas and Mentor.