Background to Press Trust Investments
Prior to 1998, the sole investment of Press Trust was Press Corporation Limited (PCL) in which the Trust held 93% of the issued share capital while Old Mutual had the remaining 7%. At that time, Press Agriculture Limited (PAL) was a wholly owned subsidiary of PCL.
However, this situation changed in 1998 when PCL was listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE). In July 1998, PAL was hived off from PCL mainly because it had posted poor results over the years which were likely going to depress PCL’s share price on the stock exchanges if it remained a subsidiary of PCL. In the restructuring that occurred, PAL was made a direct subsidiary of Press Trust and currently, the Trust owns 93% of the issued share capital of PAL and the remainder of 7% is held by Old Mutual.
After the successful listing of PCL on the MSE and LSE in September 1998, the Trust’s shareholding in PCL was reduced to 49%. The money which the Trust realised from the listing of PCL was used for re-investment. Hence the diversified investment portfolio the Trust currently has within and outside Malawi. Nevertheless, PCL still remains the Trust’s flagship investment.
Trustees made a fundamental decision in 1999 to diversify the Trust’s investments locally and to set up a hedge fund in a mix of US dollars and Euros. In line with that decision, the Trust has locally acquired equity interest in both listed and unlisted securities in the following sectors: telecommunications; tourism and hospitality; banking and financial services; insurance; diverse goods and services; manufacturing; agro-processing; and property. On the international scene, a hedge fund in the name of Press Trust Overseas Limited (PTOL) which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Press Trust was incorporated on May 26 1999 with an initial capital of US$6.5 million.