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Airlink believes creditors 'won't be able to make informed decision on SAA rescue plan'

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 24, 2020

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Airlink said while it respects the South Gauteng High Court’s decision to allow tomorrow’s meeting of SAA creditors to proceed, it is deeply disappointed.

Having been frustrated by the business rescue practitioners and their resistance to comply with the provisions of the Companies Act, said Airlink chief executive and managing director Rodger Foster in a statement on Wednesday, "we fail to understand how creditors can be expected to make an informed decision when asked to vote on the plan at tomorrow’s meeting".

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Last year Airlink carried almost 2 million passengers on more than 63 000 flights. It has the largest fleet of commercial jetliners in southern

Africa, which operate on 55 routes to 39 destinations in nine African countries.

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“We had sought to interdict the meeting and to have the SAA business rescue process stopped on the basis that the proposed rescue plan is implausible, treats creditors unequally, is opaque in explaining how it will be funded and that it is not the product of a truly independent business rescue process.

"Although government has recently restated its commitment to SAA, we were left with no alternative but to take legal action, having been frustrated by the business rescue practitioners and their resistance to comply with the provisions of the Companies Act. 

"Given these factors, we fail to understand how creditors can be expected to make an informed decision when asked to vote on the plan at tomorrow’s meeting. We cannot reconcile that the process to date is what is anticipated in the Companies Act,” said Foster.

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"Airlink will vote against the implementation of the plan in its current form in the absence of answers to the raft of queries that we have raised, and we will seek to convince SAA’s business rescue practitioners to revert to their original mandate, as defined in the

Companies Act, which requires them to produce a rescue plan in the best interests of all creditors, and not favour certain creditors as well as the shareholder over the others.

"We also note recent legal opinions expressed in the media, which raise questions about the fairness and legality of the voting process insofar as:

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* Lenders being afforded secured creditor status, when their loans have been guaranteed by the government.

* Holders of unflown SAA tickets purchased in the “pre-commencement” (ie. before 6 December 2019, which was when SAA was placed in business rescue) who have not been recognised as creditors and are therefore unable to vote.

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