JOHANNESBURG –Business at Capitec is “back to normal”, said Chief Executive Officer Gerrie Fourie, just weeks after it became the target of the short seller who contributed to the scandal surrounding Steinhoff International Holdings.
Despite some uncertainty in the beginning as well as customer withdrawals, Capitec is signing 6000 to 8000 customers a day in February. It is expecting to have about 9.8 million by the end of the fiscal year this month, up from 8.6 million a year earlier.
While the bank’s shares have seen losses since the report by Viceroy Research on January 30 accused the bank of concealing loan losses and underestimating bad debts, they are still down 10% from the day before the report.
Fourie said his disbelief quickly turned to anger after he read the report. Viceroy “typically targets a company that’s doing well,” said Fourie in an interview on February 13. With “our share rising more than 50,000%, that is what a short seller would look for- it’s the ideal company to short,” he added.
Viceroy isn’t letting up. “Capitec’s lending practices are grossly irresponsible,” said Fraser Perring, Founder of Viceroy Research. “We are being sent evidence of people committed to 70% of their net monthly income on debt.”
Fourie further said Capitec is now focusing on its business and isn’t planning any legal action against Viceroy.
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