Western Province Rugby Football Union president Zelt Marais has opened up about the Newlands Stadium sale saga that has caused a furore.
The WPRFU was set to sell the development rights and a 99-year lease of the Newlands stadium to Investec for R110 million. The union received R50m up front and the remaining R60m would have been used to cover WP’s debt to Remgro.
However, there seemed to have been a breakdown in the negotiations and relationship between WPRFU and Investec and the deal came to nothing. Now the union is indebted to both Remgro and Investec.
The money owed to Remgro has to be repaid by 30 June and the Investec advance must be repaid in ’24 equal instalments over 24 months’ with effect from 1 July.
Marais, though, dismissed reports that he negotiated in bad faith and backtracked on heads of agreement reached with Invested, saying agreement was subject to the fulfilment of certain suspensive conditions by 29 May which the company had not fulfilled.
‘It [WP] has, at all times, acted in good faith in its negotiations with Investec,’ Marais told Rugby365.com.
‘After more than nine months of negotiations, the net present value [NPV] of the deal continued to decline to a stage that resulted in too much uncertainty and risk for WPRFU, its 91 affiliated clubs, its associate and Sunday League clubs and all its stakeholders.
‘All WPRFU wanted to be inserted in the agreement was a comfort clause to the extent that the benefits be shared on an equitable basis,’ he added.
‘As a result of the uncertainty of the deal and the dilution of the NPV, the deal could have only be proceeded with should the Executive Committee have sorted a fresh approval from the General Council – who are the highest decision-makers in WPRFU.’
Marais added they’ve struck a new deal with Dream World Investments, a company within the Flyt Property Investment Group, who agreed to pay an advanced R112m to the WPRFU to pay off its debt.
This proposed loan agreement and development proposal will be considered by the council of the WPRFU at a special meeting on 30 June. If the new agreement is passed, the union will enter into 50/50 business venture with Flyt for the redevelopment of both Newlands Stadium and Brookside sports complex (home of Villager FC) in Claremont.
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