Farouk Ismail offloads his Choppies shares?

The founder and Deputy Chairman of Choppies Group, Farouk Ismail has reportedly offloaded a significant size of his Choppies shareholding recently. According to sources in the financial markets, Ismail sold around 100 million of his shares of the public listed retailer on the open market.

Sources have revealed that Ismail, who also has executive functions at the company, trimmed his shareholding by just under a third from 350 million shares. “A single transaction took place around the 3rd of October,” said an insider who preferred to remain anonymous. The sources said that no particular reason was given for such a large sell off. “All we know is that his representatives made it known to many brokers across, about the sale, no reasons were brought forward, and in any case none are needed,” one of the sources said.

Other sources have speculated that the two major shareholders, Ismail and current Chief Executive Officer, Ramachandran Ottapathu are planning on scaling down their ownership and putting up more shares on the open market, although no particular timeline was given. The two hold a combined share of just over 60 per cent of the company.

According to information reaching Gazette Business, shares of the retailer with a market capital of P4 billion in October had 1, 410, 162 .076 shares traded, a transaction which represents four per cent of the company’s total shares.
Reached for comment, Ismail claimed ignorance about the transaction. “Why would I sell,” he asked rhetorically in a telephonic interview. “Choppies is a growing company and I would like to see it develop even further, so I have no reason to sell,” he said further before referring further enquiries about the company structure to Ottapathu, who this publication was unable to get hold of by the time of going to press.

Efforts to verify the up to date shareholding of Choppies proved futile despite a formal request being made to the custodians, Grand Thornton.
Choppies entered the market two years ago through an Initial Public Offering of 43.5 million shares at a price of P1.15 per share that resulted in a subsequent listing of 173.9m shares. The company has been able to expand since its listing to a dominant market share of 30 per cent with over 50 stores in the retail space, eating away at the competition by foreign owned chain stores.
Choppies shares were trading at P3.20 at close of business on Friday.