Optimum Coal Mines heading for stalemate as creditors argue over Eskom rights

Optimum Coal Mine

THERE was no immediate prospect that Optimum Coal Mines would be sold as a legal dispute between creditors would make it impossible to hold a vote between them approving a recommended business rescue plan.

Optimum Coal Mines said in a statement signed off by Bouwer van Niekerk, an attorney for Smit Sewgoolam that one of Optimum Coal Mines’ creditors, Centaur Ventures, had launched an application against Eskom Holdings exercising its vote when creditors meet to decide on the best business rescue plan for the company.

“The application will in all likelihood take months to finalise, and whatever the outcome may in all likelihood be taken on appeal,” said Van Niekerk. “The net effect of the pending application is that the mine cannot be sold in the foreseeable future as it is not possible to sell the assets in question without an approved business rescue plan.”

In the meantime, the business rescue practitioners have requested that the three companies bidding to buy Optimum Coal Mines – Project Halo and two consortiums: Phakamisa and African Exploration & Mining Finance Company – submit their plans for the company by today (February 7).

A creditors’ meeting has been called for February 18 at which feedback would be provided on the relevant bids including post commencement funding for Optimum Coal Mines which is required of the bidders.