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Allan Gray takes over 10% stake in battered Spar

Long-term focused Allan Gray, which is Africa’s biggest privately-owned investment manager, has built up its stake in retailer Spar to just over 10%.

The firm, which had assets under management of R335 billion at the end of 2022, held a 3.55% stake in Spar at the end of the retailer’s year to end-September.

Then, Spar’s two largest shareholders were the Public Investment Corporation and Coronation Fund Managers, which both held about 15%, implying Allan Gray may now be its third-biggest shareholder.

Spar, now valued at about R18 billion on the JSE, has seen its shares crash almost a quarter over the past week, having warned on 31 May that its half-year profit could fall by more than a third. Its results were hit by difficulties in implementing upgrades to the SAP software system that manages its operations, as well as load shedding.

Analysts have said the uncertainty around timing involved in implementing the new IT system is being compounded by a bleak outlook for retailers generally, who are facing increased costs of load shedding as consumers struggle with higher interest rates and elevated inflation.

Shares in Spar were up more just over 3% on Wednesday morning but are still down more than a third on a one-year basis. –