Tongaat Hulett hits 25-year low, may restate finances

By Liezel Hill

(Bloomberg) – Tongaat Hulett Ltd. dropped to the lowest since January 1994 in the second day of declines since the South African sugar producer warned that “certain practices” have been discovered that may lead to a restatement of earlier financial information.

Tongaat has hired PwC to assist with reviewing the issue and said it doesn’t have enough information to provide more details yet.

Key insights

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for Tongaat. The shares plummeted 20% on Feb. 22 after the company warned that it would post a full-year loss and planned to hold discussions with lenders. The latest issues were identified as part of a wide-ranging strategic and financial review of the company initiated by new Chief Executive Officer Gavin Hudson. It’s working on a turnaround strategy, but said on Friday that it’s still at an early stage.

Tongaat has told staff to preserve all information, including data, documents and emails, and cooperate fully with the PwC team, South Africa’s Business Day newspaper said Monday.

Market reaction

Tongaat dropped as much as 18% on Monday, following a 28% decline on Friday. The stock is down 65% this year, valuing the company at R2.4bn ($167m).