Roy Cokayne

The battle between listed property firms Delta and Rebosis for control of Ascension Properties has intensified, turning hostile.

Yesterday Delta and Rebosis both announced details of shares acquired or secured in Ascension and claimed to have valid agreements for the acquisition of the Ascension Management Company (Manco).

Delta said it had concluded a series of agreements to acquire 38.88 million Ascension A-linked units and 82.7 million B-linked units from various institutional investors for R397 million in total, giving it a 17.75 percent stake in Ascension.

It had also received letters of support from certain institutional investors holding a total of 23.65 percent of the total number of Ascension linked units in issue for its stated objective to obtain 100 percent of Ascension.

Bronwyn Corbett, Delta’s chief financial officer, said including the letters of support, Delta now had a 41.4 percent stake in Ascension and a valid contract signed by Shaun Rai for the acquisition of about 74 percent of Ascension Manco.

Rai is the chief executive of the Cape Empowerment Fund and a founder and executive director of Ascension.

Rebosis reported yesterday that it had acquired, effective from Monday, 109.36 million Ascension B-linked units, representing 29.05 percent of Ascension B-linked unit capital and 15.96 percent of Ascension’s total issued linked unit capital, from various vendors for a total of R289.8m.

Ascension and Rebosis had reported on Tuesday that the boards of the two companies had concluded a written co-operation agreement to explore in the utmost good faith a merger to enhance their market capitalisation, investor liquidity and prospects.

Rebosis added that Rai had undertaken, on request, to accept an appointment to the Rebosis board of directors.

Corbett said Delta’s acquisition of Ascension Manco was merely a conduit to purchase and consolidate Ascension and, if it had not signed such an agreement, its attempts to acquire Ascension would have been hostile.

Corbett said the transaction had turned hostile and Delta would be taking legal action according to the rights in the agreement signed by Rai and for damages.

She said Delta’s intention was to pursue the transaction and do everything it could to prevent it becoming a stalemate, which was not in anybody’s benefit.

Corbett said Delta had acted with the utmost integrity, but a group of individuals had unfortunately scuppered the deal, ultimately for a higher price for Ascension Manco.

Sisa Ngebulana, Rebosis’s chief executive, said it was trying to achieve a 100 percent merger of the two companies, had signed a co-operation agreement with Ascension and acquired 100 percent of Ascension Manco.

Ngebulana said Rebosis had been working with Ascension’s management and its proposed transaction was not hostile. He was unable to disclose who had signed the agreement for the sale of Ascension Manco, stressing that the company’s lawyers had checked the agreement.

Ngebulana did not know to what extent Rebosis would get involved in any court battle, adding the dispute was between Rai and Delta.

Rai denied he had signed two agreements for the sale of Ascension Manco.