Take 2: Crowdfunding bidder makes revised offer to buy SA Express

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SA Express is in provisional liquidation.
SA Express is in provisional liquidation.
  • Last year's preferred bidder to buy SA Express says it has now submitted a revised offer.
  • SA Express is in provisional liquidation.
  • The next court date to determine if it should go into liquidation has been moved to July.

Fly SAX, which was accepted as preferred bidder for state-owned regional airline SA Express last year, says it has submitted a revised offer to the airline's provisional liquidators.

In April, the provisional liquidators had said that Fly SAX had breached the terms and conditions of the sales process as "no funds were forthcoming". 

Fly SAX is an equity crowdsourcing proposal by a group backed by some employees. The purchase price for the Fly SAX bid was R50 million, payable in the form of a bank guarantee to be provided to the joint liquidators. Some movable assets sold by the provisional liquidators had reduced this amount in the meantime.

SAX was placed under provisional liquidation in April 2020 after its business rescue process failed. In January this year, the return date to determine if SAX has to be placed in liquidation was again postponed - until Thursday, 29 April. The aim was to provide more time to try to save the airline.

The matter was once again postponed, this time to 28 July. This was to allow the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) time to file their intended Constitutional Court application in which they want to try to compel the National Assembly to debate whether SAX should be permitted to go insolvent. Fly SAX also asked for the court to postpone the case so that its revised offer can be considered.

The two unions contend that, in the absence of Parliamentary oversight, a state-owned company cannot be finally liquidated by a court. 

As for Fly SAX, its spokesperson Thabisile Sikakane said in a statement on Wednesday that time is running out fast to try to save SAX.

"Fly SAX has requested the [provisional] liquidator to provide a 'no objection letter' to raise working capital funding through equity crowdfunding. This is a prerequisite condition by Uprise Africa, which is the equity crowdfunding platform," said Sikakane.

"The liquidator needs to demonstrate adaptability to acknowledge new models for restructuring transactions through alternative funding models. The Fly SAX transaction provides an outside-the-box solution, but needs the liquidator's ability to understand the creative solution Fly SAX proposed in its bid."

In April this year, the provisional liquidators said they are still waiting for "a realistic buyer". They claimed they have only received "opportunistic claims, none of which have materialised, and no bidder has been able to provide proof of funding".

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