Ascendis activist appointed as Chairman


Ascendis activist appointed as Chairman


Published Date: 2022-01-14 | Source: INCE|Community | Author: The Finance Ghost

Ascendis activist appointed as Chairman

Predatory offshore lender Blantyre is finally out of the way. The local consortium of investors has paid across R550 million to settle the debt and to provide additional working capital to Ascendis.

The terms and conditions of the new loan are identical to the debt that it replaced, except the maturity date has been extended to 31 January 2022. This gives the company a couple of weeks to finalise a recapitalisation plan.

The goal is to end up with a debt-free group that has surplus cash available to expand its core business. That would be quite an achievement when one considers what the group has been through.

There are also major changes at board level. Shareholder activist Harry Smit has been appointed as Chairman to the Board. It's been an extraordinary story, with an activist campaign waged primarily through Twitter and with no shortage of risk along the way. I didn't always agree with Smit's methods, but this was clearly a hill that he was prepared to die on and it seems to have worked.

Acting CEO Andrew Marshall will step down with immediate effect. Cheryl-Jane Kujenga, the current CFO, will take the joint role of CFO and interim CEO.

It's also worth reminding everyone that Gary Shayne is back on the board. Shayne spearheaded Coast2Coast, the private equity investment group that built Ascendis in a swashbuckling period of M&A. Sadly, too many deals with too much debt is what got Ascendis into trouble in the first place.

The share price closed 6.25% higher at R0.85 per share.

I'm watching with interest to see how this all unfolds.


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