Picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

SAA Technical delays AGM

By LOYISO SIDIMBA Time of article published Jan 9, 2020

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Johannesburg - SAA’s business rescue proceedings have forced SAA Technical to hold its annual general meeting in two months’ time.

SAA Technical, a subsidiary of the national carrier, was granted an extension by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s Companies Tribunal to postpone its 2019 gathering to the end of March.

SAA Technical last held an AGM in April 2018, and the 2019 meeting should have taken place by July 12 last year.

SAA company secretary Ruth Kibuuka said SAA Technical, which is responsible for the maintenance, repair and overhauling of aircraft, told the tribunal it wanted to delay its AGM because it was waiting for the finalisation of its annual financial statements pending the resolution of its going-concern status.

SAA Technical also cited the government’s decision to place the national carrier under business rescue last month - after trade union Solidarity threatened to have the airline liquidated - as another reason for applying for the postponement.

On Friday last week the tribunal found that the reasons proffered by SAA Technical were based on new and unforeseen challenges, including the possibility of being placed under business rescue and the extension granted to SAA to hold its meeting.

The tribunal’s presiding member, Ishara Bodasing, found that it would be an anomaly to deny SAA Technical a further extension of time within which to hold its 2019 AGM when its holding company (SAA) had already been granted such an extension.

Independent Media previously reported that among reasons cited by SAA for delaying holding its AGM were the need for a capital injection and engagements with the Department of Public Enterprises and the National Treasury on its capitalisation. At the time, an ongoing evaluation of SAA’s financial statements concluded that SAA required shareholder support in the form of a capital injection for it to meet its requirements as a going concern. SAA was also unlikely to meet the deadline due to the delay in finalising its annual financial statements.

After its meeting in 2018, the airline, which has more than 5400 employees, should have convened the next one within 15 months to meet requirements of the Companies Act.

The National Assembly’s standing committee on public accounts has been highly critical of the airline and its subsidiaries’ failure to present financial statements timeously. At the end of last year, SAA executives pulled out of a meeting with Scopa after the airline failed to submit information requested by the committee.

SAA business rescue practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana are confident that they can save the airline if their plan is successfully implemented, and with the availability of further post-commencement funding and ongoing support from all stakeholders, including the government, staff, trade unions and suppliers.

SAA has third-party liabilities of over R20.4billion, while its annual turnover is around R24bn.

Political Bureau

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