• Listed industrial group enX hedged its foreign exchange positions "ahead of the political events that took place in South Africa over December 2017".
  • The conference went well – for the rand - but the resulting stronger currency cost the company R26.8 million.
  • That is triple its foreign exchange losses from a year ago, and nearly a fifth of its interim profits.

In the six months to the end of February it lost R26.8 million because of the stronger rand, JSE-listed industrial group enX disclosed on Monday – after betting the wrong way on the ANC's elective conference.

enX (formerly known as Austro) imports forklifts and cranes and oil lubricants, and has operations elsewhere on the continent and in parts of Europe. That means rand volatility can cut deeply into its profits; in its last full year it lost a little over R27 million to just such exchange-rate movements.

But a bad bet at the end of 2017 saw it nearly equal that annual loss in its last six-month period.

"The group took a strategic decision to hedge all of its foreign exchange positions ahead of the political events that took place in South Africa over December 2017," the company said in a results release on Monday.

That was when Cyril Ramaphosa won a close-run race against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the position of ANC president – in what was widely seen as a battle for the future of the party and the state.

The R26.8 million loss for eNX is more than three times its reported exchange losses for the comparable six months last year. It is also just under 20% of the R140.8 million net profit it reported for the period.

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