Gold Circle gives Phumelela notice of interdicting business rescue plan, possible sale


Embattled horse racing and betting company Phumelela Gaming & Leisure was served a notice of motion on Monday intending to interdict its proposed business rescue plan and possible sale.

The applicant is Gold Circle, a horse racing and betting company, which wants the matter to be heard on an urgent basis by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Phumelela filed for business rescue in May in the wake of a ban on horse races at the start of the national lockdown. UK bookmaker Betfred and SA company Mary Oppenheimer and Daughters (Pty) Ltd have put forward rival proposals to acquire all or some of its assets.

Gold Circle's notice of motion was brought against Phumelela, its business rescue practitioner John Evans, Mary Oppenheimer & Daughters and Betfred. The respondents intend to oppose the application.

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According its founding affidavit, Gold Circle says it owns 39% of the shares in Phumelela Gold International, a company registered on the Isle of Man.

Gold Circle contends it is entitled to claim a transfer of those shares from Phumelela Gaming & Leisure "upon demand".

However, according to the affidavit, Phumelela's business rescue practitioner Evans, "refuses to recognise" Golden Circle's 39% ownership or entitlement.

"The second respondent (John Evans) has proposed a business rescue plan for the first respondent in terms of which 100% of the shareholding in Phumelela Gold International Limited will be sold as an asset of the first respondent (Phumelela Gaming) exclusively."

Golden Circle wants the business rescue plan and proposed sale to be halted pending the final determination of the dispute.

Phumelela Gaming, however, is meant to make a decision on Tuesday about whether it will accept a binding offer from Betfred of between R875 million and R925 million for its entire business.

Betfred has said it will abide by the decision of the court, Phumelela said in a notice to shareholders issued on Monday night.

"We will notify all effected parties of the outcome at the commencement of the meeting at 11am, 1 September 2020," Phumelela said in the shareholder notice. Its creditors are also due to vote on the business rescue plan on Tuesday.

Fin24 previously reported that Mary Oppenheimer and Daughters, a company linked to the family of late mining baron Harry Oppenheimer, had criticised Betfred's offer for imitating the structure of their offer, among other things.

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