Huge Group fails to release its results on time (update 1) - TechCentral

Huge Group fails to release its results on time (update 1)

James Herbst and Anton Potgieter

Is AltX-listed Huge Group courting trouble with the JSE? The telecommunications company has failed to publish its interim results to 31 August 2009 in the time required by stock exchange regulations.

As a result, the JSE will issue the company with a letter, probably later today (Tuesday), warning it that it has 30 days in which to submit a report or face the possibility of having its listing suspended.

However, Huge Group CEO James Herbst says there is “nothing untoward” in the fact that it has missed the deadline to publish the results. He says there were “formatting problems”, which meant they could not be issued on the JSE’s Sens news service in time.

The results should be published on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, Herbst says.

André Visser, GM of issuer services at the JSE, says companies have three months from the end of their interim period to produce a financial report. Failure to do so is a breach of listing requirements.

That means that Huge Group had until Monday to publish its interim report.

Visser says that if the company has not published its results within 14 days of the JSE issuing it with a letter, the bourse will publish an announcement on its news service, Sens, warning the market that its listing is under threat of suspension.

If Huge Group has still not published its results by 31 December — or four months after the end of its interim period — the JSE will probably then move to suspend the listing.

“The reason why we suspend listings is two-fold,” Visser says. “Obviously, it’s because a company breaches the listing requirements, but it’s also because you generally can’t have a properly functioning secondary market (with price formation, and so on) without financial information that is up to date.”

Visser says there are sometimes legitimate reasons why companies fail to publish their results on time. “They give all sorts of reasons. Sometimes these are legitimate and in some cases the company just hasn’t done things quickly enough to get its results out timeously,” he says.

Without specific reference to Huge Group, Visser says there should be no reason why companies can’t publish their results on time if they have the right systems, structures and procedures in place.

This is not the first time that Huge Group has found itself in controversy with the JSE. Last month, the bourse fined Herbst and Potgieter R5m each for alleged breaches of the listing requirements related to trading in Huge Group shares.

The dispute turned ugly earlier this year, with the directors threatening to delist the company from the JSE. They later backed down.

Both men have the right to appeal against the JSE’s decision. It’s not yet clear if they will do so.

Huge Group’s share price was trading down 7,1% at midday on Tuesday. It gained 20% on Monday.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral

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