ElementOne, Caxton won't reach deal

2010-09-30 13:16

Johannesburg - Investment holding group ElementOne, which owns directly and indirectly 39.3% in Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers [JSE:CAT], confirmed on Thursday that it had failed to reach an out-of-court settlement with the media and publishing group.
Now the judge will decide on the case, which was filed in the South Gauteng High Court by ElementOne in January 2010. A court hearing involving both ElementOne and CAT took place on September 15. 

ElementOne is seeking access to information from CAT via the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
ElementOne CEO Danie Vlok told I-Net Bridge that the two parties "couldn't reach an agreement" by Wednesday.

The judge gave the parties two weeks until September 29 to reach an out- of-court settlement.

Vlok said the parties informed the judge about the failure to find the settlement on Wednesday, and the judge will now issue a judgment.

But he said he had no idea when the judge will hand down the verdict.
In its legal bid, ElementOne wants access to documents to determine what its rights and obligations are in Afmed, Caxton and CAT.

Afmed, a private company, and Caxton, an unlisted company, give ElementOne an indirect shareholding in CAT.

ElementOne notes 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 CAT".
But CAT alleges in its answering affidavit that ElementOne and two shareholders - Allan Gray and Coronation - are on a "fishing expedition" to beak up the control structure of Caxton and strip its assets.
ElementOne describes CAT's claims as "inaccurate, irrelevant and mostly hearsay allegations".
ElementOne says it is in the process of disposing of its assets and wants to transfer its interests in CAT, 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.
But CAT counters by stating 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 Element1/Argus for short-term gains," CAT said.