High court seals doom of Velvet Sky

2012-06-22 00:00

VELVET Sky airline was finally liquidated yesterday, despite yet another last-gasp attempt by an intervening creditor to win an adjournment of the case in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

Granting the application by BP Southern Africa for the airline to be wound up, Judge Phillip Nkosi said he was not persuaded that any further delay was in the interests of creditors, or would benefit them in any way.

Earlier, advocate Vershen Moodley said he had received instructions just yesterday morning from a creditor, Up North Investments, to apply for the matter to be adjourned. This was to enable the liquidators to consider a proposal by a Johannesburg-based company, JB Group, which had offered to pay the airline’s creditors five cents to the rand. This was more than they would receive if the airline was liquidated.

But advocate Gerhard Roberts SC, for BP, vigorously opposed another adjournment, saying it was time to accept that “Velvet Sky will never see the sky again”.

He said there was no offer in writing for the court to consider, like all the other times the airline’s liquidation had been delayed.

Roberts said all creditors had had ample time from when BP first applied for the airline to be wound up, in February, to launch proper applications to court.

But on every occasion new proposals were mooted that were not supported by proper documentation or facts.

He was referring to an earlier business rescue proposal put forward by a creditor, Umzamo Transport, and involving alleged foreign investors, which came to nothing, and a later proposal involving the Malawi government.

On May 11, Judge Shyam Gyanda placed Velvet Sky in provisional liqudiation. He said at the time he did not believe their was any hope of rescuing the airline, which owned no assets or capital except some furniture. Velvet Sky’s three aircraft were leased.

The disappointed CEO of the JB Group, Guy Joosub, told journalists at the high court after yesterday’s ruling that his company’s interest in Velvet Sky had been based on the desire to take over the airline’s existing licence.

“Its now completely dead and buried … We would have re-employed 140 people,” he added.

He said the JB Group is a family business involved in vehicle sales and property development.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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