Group Five creditors choose business rescue over liquidation

Creditors of construction and engineering company Group Five have voted in favour of a business rescue plan presented by practitioners overseeing the process.

Group Five Limited (G5 Limited) and its operating subsidiary Group Five Construction (G5 Construction), in March entered into business rescue following significant financial losses.

The business rescue processes and plans for the two entities are separate. The business rescue practitioners Peter van den Steen and Dave Lake presented the business rescue plans for the entities to creditors on Wednesday.

Of the creditors, 96.1% voted in favour on the plan for G5 Construction and all (100%) of creditors voted in favour of the plan for G5 Limited. The plans are adopted and binding.

"All voters in the G5 Construction vote today represented independent affected parties. The 96.1% vote in favour far surpassed the required threshold for implementation of the plan of 75%," a statement from the practitioners read. Half (50%) of the vote was required to be by independent voters.

Best course of action

This option is better for creditors than in the case of liquidation. They could get back approximately R5bn, according to the plan. The business rescue practitioners expect between 3 000 and 3 500 jobs to be saved under new ownership.

If the plan is implemented successfully, secured creditors (those who hold security for a claim against the company) could receive distributions between 66c and 78c, compared to 18c in the event of liquidation. Concurrent creditors (all those with unsecured claims against the company) are expected to receive distributions between 9c and 20c, relative to 3.4c expected through liquidation.

Independent chairperson of the committee of creditors, Haroon Laher of Fasken, said that he fully considered the group's alternatives as well as liquidation. "I have no doubt that the current business rescue process and business plan have been the best course of action and unreservedly recommended to creditors ahead of the vote that the published business rescue plan was adopted," Laher said.

'Severe financial distress'

"Even though Group Five Construction is an extremely complex and wide-ranging business under severe financial distress, we remain confident that a successful business rescue will balance the rights and interests of all relevant stakeholders," van den Steen and Lake commented.

In terms of the vote for G5 Limited, 98% of eligible creditors voted, and all were in favour of the plan. This surpassed the required threshold of 75% and half of the vote was required by independent voters. 

G5 Limited's assets are shares in a cement manufacturer Everite and G5 Construction.

Everite is being disposed through a "controlled sales process" and the proceeds will go to lender banks.

G5 Limited will not receive any of the recoveries made through the business rescue process for G5 Construction.

Practitioners reiterated that it is unlikely shareholders would be able to receive any returns.

Secured creditors however will receive between 39c and 50c compared to 5.2c estimated through liquidation.

"G5 Limited will be wound up and delisted in time," the practitioners said.