Hanna Barry
2 minute read
19 Apr 2014
6:00 am

SuraPure in a pickle

Hanna Barry

SuraPure Drinks owes about R41 million to its micro-retailers, according to director Cornelius van der Merwe.

Image courtesy stock.xchnge

In a sworn affidavit to the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC), Van der Merwe says he is the sole director of SuraPure and the company has more than 98 000 members “contractually entitled to draw their share of sales profits from the accounts which have been frozen”.

Van der Merwe’s statement was made in support of SuraPure’s notice on April 7 to commence business rescue proceedings.

According to the CIPC, business rescue is aimed at “assisting with the rehabilitation of a company in financial distress”.

The process provides a plan to rescue the company and to help

it stay solvent and in business in the interests of all relevant stakeholders.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has appointed inspectors who are being assisted by FNB that froze SuraPure’s account around March 18.

At the time, FNB was concerned about high volumes of transactions.

Van der Merwe says the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) directed FNB to withhold any transactions on the account, in terms of section 23 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA).

Section 34 of the FICA allows the centre to intervene where it believes that transactions may involve illegally obtained profits or money laundering.

The actions of FNB, the SARB and the FIC have essentially rendered SuraPure incapable of conducting day-to-day business.

The R41 million it owes its members is, according to Van der Merwe, being held in credit in one or more of the frozen accounts.

SuraPure has other creditors who must be paid from these frozen funds.

Van der Merwe said it appears all accounts belonging to SuraPure not frozen by FNB have or will be frozen by the SARB, rendering Surapure “financially distressed”.

As a result, he noted that SuraPure was “reasonably unlikely” to be able to pay all its creditors as they become payable in the next six months and/or that SuraPure was “reasonably likely” to become insolvent within the next six months.

Van der Merwe is hopeful that SuraPure will be able to repay its micro-retailers should they wish to exit the business and believes that it is capable of continuing without its micro-retailers.