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JSE threatens Blue Label with suspension over delayed results

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 17 Sept 2019

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)-listed Blue Label Telecoms risks being suspended from the local bourse due to delays in submitting provisional financial results as per the regulations.

Blue Label, which is Cell C's majority shareholder, has pushed its results as it awaits “clarifications” on the transactions at the troubled mobile operator.

This morning the JSE announced that Blue Label’s listing on the stock exchange’s trading system has been annotated with a “RE” to indicate that it has failed to submit its provisional report timeously and that the listing of this company’s securities is under threat of suspension and possible removal.

“If the abovementioned company still fails to submit its provisional report on or before 30 September 2019, then its listing may be suspended,” reads the announcement from the JSE.

Last month Blue Label told shareholders that its financial results for the year ended 31 May 2019 will be released on SENS on 26 September 2019.

Last week, another shareholder, JSE-listed Net1, announced it’s delaying the publication of its results for the same reasons as Blue Label.

Announcing its preliminary financial and operating highlights for the fourth quarter of 2019, Net1 said it was rescheduling the release of its audited results in order to “allow more time for clarification on various developments in respect of the proposed transactions at Cell C, as this information is expected to significantly impact the carrying value of its Cell C investment as of 30 June 2019”.

The company will now release fourth quarter and year-end 2019 results after the market close on 26 September, the same day Blue Label is expected to put out its results.

Cell C has a debt burden of some R6 billion (with interest rates as high as 17%), and has now fallen behind on payments for these services.

In the past six months, it reportedly failed to pay MTN its dues, burdening the pan-African telco with an unpaid bill of R393 million.

MTN has since written off R211 million of the amount, and is now “evaluating a sustainable solution to the network roaming agreement with Cell C”.

Standard & Poor downgraded Cell C three time this year over its debt.