170316 - Passengers board an SA Express aeroplane at the O.R Tambo International Airport , north of Johannesburg. Photo : Nicholas Rama
170316 - Passengers board an SA Express aeroplane at the O.R Tambo International Airport , north of Johannesburg. Photo : Nicholas Rama

Staff buyout bid for SA Express gets approval

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Sep 30, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - The bid BY former SA Express employees to buy the assets of the troubled State-owned airline has been approved by liquidators following a daunting equity crowdfunding campaign.

Fly SAX, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed by a group of incorporated former SA Express workers, yesterday received approval for a bid to acquire the troubled regional airline through a public offering.

The SPV will be anchored by a private investor and owned by a public limited company, Fly SAX, with the SA Express’ 691 employees as owners. In August, SA Express employees engaged an equity crowdfunding platform, Uprise Africa, to assist in raising the capital needed to save the airline from final liquidation.

During that time, they estimated SA Express was worth at least R1.5billion.

SA Express flights have been grounded since March 18 after the company was placed in business rescue in February.

Uprise Africa will facilitate the capital raise for SA Express employees through its crowdfunding platform. Uprise has entered into a joint venture with ZARX, an alternative stock exchange, offering project owners a unique opportunity to list shares on the stock exchange while retaining their status as a private company.

Fly SAX spokesperson Thabsile Sikakane said Uprise has assembled a powerful core team to rescue SA Express.

"The combination of business experience, skills and knowledge across the aviation, funding, business turn-around and technology entrepreneurship spheres will enable Uprise to save SA Express and succeed where others have failed.

“We are looking forward to an era of equity, crowdfunding’s heady mix of creative expression, cultivating an audience of potential investors, media-savvy PR pitches, and legal and technical provision of ‘due diligence’ information about our plans," Sikakane said.

BUSINESS REPORT

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