Johannesburg - Investment holding group ElementOne, which owns directly and indirectly 39.3% in Caxton and CTP Publishers & Printers [JSE:CAT], on Tuesday denied allegations of asset stripping made by the publishing group, according to an answering affidavit posted on its website.
ElementOne filed court papers against Caxton in the South Gauteng High Court in January, seeking access to information.
A court hearing involving both ElementOne and Caxton took place on September 15.
In its legal bid, ElementOne wants access to documents to determine what its rights and obligations are in Caxton, through its indirect shareholding in other unlisted companies.
ElementOne said in its founding affidavit, published on its website, that access to these documents would allow it to unlock shareholder value and "realise the underlying value of its shareholding in Caxton".
Earlier, Caxton said in its answering affidavit that ElementOne and two shareholders - Allan Gray and Coronation - are on a "fishing expedition" to break up the control structure of Caxton and strip its assets.
ElementOne describes Caxton's claims as "inaccurate, irrelevant and mostly hearsay allegations".
ElementOne said it is in the process of disposing of its assets and want to transfer its interests in Caxton, not to "break up" its "current control structure".
"Its rights and obligations as a shareholder are prescribed by terms and conditions of the records sought in this application," ElementOne said in the founding affidavit.
Caxton countered that ElementOne's court papers are not "a bona fide application for documents that are required for the exercise or protection of any rights for the applicant (ElementOne)".
"Rather, this application is in reality part of a concerted effort by Allan Gray and Coronation ... to complete the asset stripping of ElementOne/Argus for short-term gains," Caxton said.
ElementOne CEO Danie Vlok said the judge had given the parties two weeks - from September 14 to September 28 - to reach a settlement.