End of a (state capture) era: Denel Asia will be liquidated next year

A Denel delegation told Parliament on Wednesday that the courts in Hong Kong approved the provisional liquidation of Denel Asia, the company which entered into an ill-fated joint venture with the Gupta-linked VR Laser.

Its liquidation will bring to an end another chapter in South Africa's state capture saga. According to Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan's testimony before the commission of inquiry into state capture last year, Denel Asia was part of an attempt by Gupta family associates to hijack Denel's intellectual property.

VR Laser was owned by Salim Essa, a business partner of the Gupta family. In 2016, VR Laser tried to merge with Denel Asia - at the height of the Gupta family's dominance in doing business with the state and scoring lucrative government contracts. 

The joint venture saw Denel relinquish its intellectual property to Denel Asia. After National Treasury expressed its reservations about the deal, Denel agreed to end its involvement with the Denel Asia joint venture in 2017 and Denel Asia has not traded since.

Denel board member and audit committee chair Talib Sadik told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises that the courts in Hong Kong ruled that the liquidation of Denel Asia could go ahead.

Sadik told Fin24 on the sidelines of the committee meeting that the liquidation, while a formality, was expected to be concluded as early as next year.


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