Quilter wraps up odd-lot offer

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The wealth manager has reduced its shareholder base by close to half in a move that will save reduce its administrative costs.

Quilter has received a strong take-up of its offer to buy up the shares of smaller investors, dramatically reducing the number of shareholders on its share register.

The wealth manager says it purchased about 16.3 million shares under the odd-lot offer, with most of them on its South African share register. The move was aimed at giving small shareholders, many of whom received shares when Old Mutual unbundled the group, a cost-effective way to sell their shares, while saving it on costs.

Quilter, previously called Old Mutual Wealth Management, was unbundled and listed on the London Stock Exchange by Old Mutual in 2018 as part of the managed separation of its component businesses. Its shares were distributed to Old Mutual shareholders, many of whom were policyholders who received their shares as part of the insurance group’s demutualisation in 1999. Nedbank conducted a similar odd-lot offer in December 2018.

The odd-lot offer was aimed at shareholders with fewer than 100 shares and was priced just over a month ago at a 5% premium to the volume-weighted average price of its ordinary shares over the five trading days to 24 April. Payment was expected to have been made yesterday.

Quilter said by reducing its shareholder base, which was unusually large for a company of its size, it would save on administrative expenses, including, for example, the costs of printing and distributing financial statements, circulars and notices. It reduced its shareholder base by 209,282, or about 45% of the total. However, the shares purchased represented just 0.87% of its existing issued share capital. It said it would hold the repurchased shares as treasury stock.

Its shares closed 2.5% lower at R28.18 on Friday.

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