Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sharemax to hear scheme’s fate today

Sharemax to hear scheme’s fate today
December 14 2011 at 05:00am
By Roy Cokayne

Roy Cokayne

The outcome of a North Gauteng High Court hearing to approve and sanction the proposed scheme of arrangement involving Sharemax group companies will only be known today.

This follows an application by four investors in Sharemax syndications, who last year applied to place 14 Sharemax companies under judicial management, for a postponement of the approval and sanctioning of the scheme of arrangement until next year. The matter was argued together with the main application before Judge Bert Bam, who will deliver judgment on the applications today.

Chris de Beer, of the attorneys firm representing the applicants, said yesterday they wanted the Sharemax companies to either be placed in business rescue or liquidation.

De Beer stressed they did not want to liquidate the companies and wanted to go for business rescue, but could not previously bring an application for business rescue.

The new Companies Act, which makes provision for business rescues, was not in force when the main application was launched last year.

The application for the postponement was brought on behalf of Novo Energy, which invested R10 million in Sharemax Zambezi Retail Park; Herman Wolmarans and Anna Wolmarans, both trustees of the Wolmarans Familie Trust; and Alexander Ross.

Dominique Haese, the managing and financial director of Frontier Asset Management, confirmed yesterday that argument related to three Sharemax schemes was heard by Judge Bam, who would deliver judgment today.

Frontier comprises former management and employees of Sharemax who are now responsible for the day-to-day administration and management of the properties in the schemes marketed and promoted by the Sharemax group,

But Haese refused to comment on the application for the postponement of the approval and sanctioning of the scheme.

Michael Blackbeard, the deputy registrar of banks, said this week in response to questions that his office was hopeful the schemes of arrangements would be approved by the vast majority of investors and be sanctioned by the court.

“On the information at our disposal, the schemes of arrangement will address our concerns regarding the contravention of the Banks Act, as well as our directive to repay.

“Once the process has been approved and registered we will be in a position to withdraw both the directive and the appointment of the managers.”

However, Blackbeard stressed that if the process was not successful his office “might have no other choice but to liquidate the companies that are unable to comply”. Following an investigation of Sharemax and the various property syndications companies under Sharemax, his office was satisfied the obtaining of funds from members of the public “was in contravention of the Banks Act”.

However, he stressed this was an administrative finding and in no way a finding of criminality. Criminal investigations were an area of responsibility of the SAPS and the prosecuting authorities, he added.

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