EPRU gets mystery R80m lifeline

    2016-05-11 10:29

    Cape Town - An R80 million cash injection promised to the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) by a mystery sponsor saved the beleaguered franchise from final liquidation on Tuesday.

    According to the HeraldLIVE website, as EPRU was given another lifeline - with the court proceedings postponed to May 31 for it to apply for business rescue - role-players were tight-lipped about where the money was coming from.

    In asking the Port Elizabeth High Court for a three-week indulgence to file papers for business rescue, EP Kings boss Cheeky Watson said R20 million had already been secured from the investor as a “token of good faith”.

    Watson said in an affidavit that EPRU’s administrator, the SA Rugby Union (SARU), had secured a prospective investor who was willing to grant post-commencement finance to EPRU in terms of Section 135 of the Companies Act.

    He said of these funds, R20 million had already been paid into the bank account of EPRU’s attorney, Paul Bester, with the rest to be paid over the remainder of the Super Rugby season.

    Thirty-six professional players took EPRU to court, claiming they were owed more than R18 million in salary arrears and other benefits.

    They wanted the union to be wound up and a liquidator appointed so its debts could be settled.

    While lawyer Craig Jessop, who appeared for some of the players, eventually agreed to the postponement, he remained sceptical.

    Debbie Ellis, Chief Operations Officer at EP Rugby Pty Ltd, confirmed the latest development.

    "EP Rugby can confirm that the matter of the liquidation application of the EP Rugby Pty Ltd was postponed to May 31 in the High Court on Tuesday," said Ellis.

    "Further, as mentioned in court, there is a potential equity partner that is currently considering securing a shareholding in EP Rugby, and who has made an amount of R20 million available as an act of good faith.

    "This funding is being held in the attorneys trust account and is subject to the implementation of a business rescue plan.

    "We cannot provide further details at this time."

    The Kings, currently bottom of Africa Conference 2, the South African Group and the Overall standings with a single win from their nine matches to date, play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

    Kick-off is at 17:05.

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