Trustco wants bigger award

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Namibian-based Trustco Group International is going back to court to force the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to cough up more than the R24.7 milion it must pay out after breaching a contract.

The Namibian company, which is also listed on the JSE, initiated arbitration proceedings claiming damages from the SABC several years ago. Trustco's claim is based on the SABC repudiating a contract that related to a wireless agreement for a game show signed in March 2004.

Trustco became the first African company to list on the JSE's new Africa board, last February, through a dual primary listing. It listed to achieve better liquidity in trading of its shares, and access to capital for further expansion and acquisitions.

It has more than 700 staff and focuses on micro finance and micro insurance through its subsidiary units. Its mobile division, Trustco Mobile, provides free life cover for mobile phone users in Namibia when they purchase airtime.

Guilty as charged

Hearings in April 2007 found the South African broadcaster had repudiated the contract, and was liable for damages. The SABC subsequently appealed, but then withdrew the appeal action.

Last week, Trustco won damages worth R24.7 million and interest. In addition, the broadcaster is liable to pay the Namibian company costs, included those relating to arbitration and hiring of a venue.

The award was subject to an appeal by either party, which must be lodged within seven days of the 23 June ruling.

Trustco was initially seeking about R140 million in damages, according to its latest annual report. The company says it will update shareholders as soon as it has more information.

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