The nature and value of shares in private companies

SharesGenerally speaking, the shareholders of a company share in the profits of the Company whilst directors manage the day to day business of the Company. It is also commonly accepted that shares (or shareholding in a company) represent the investment made by the shareholder and that similar to earning interest on an investment of money held in the bank, the shareholder ideally invests to get return on his/her investment.

Although shares are incorporeal property, it is considered to be movable property, as it is transferrable in any manner provided for or recognised by the Companies Act (Act 71 of 2008 as amended – hereafter referred to as “the Act”). According, to Henochsberg on the Companies Act 71 of 2008:

[A] share in a company consists of a bundle, or conglomerate, of personal rights entitling the holder thereof to a certain interest in the company, its assets, and dividends.”

The shareholder is thus afforded the right to share in dividends when declared and the right to attend and vote at meetings of shareholders and this, amongst other factors, determine the value of the shares as held in a particular class of shares.

So, in my view, the most important question is then, what is the value of the shares I hold? This is an important question to be answered not just in a commercial or estate planning context, but also for purposes of BBBEE.

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