SELEBI-PHIKWE: As the BCL Mine moves into final liquidation, creditors may not receive anything if some of its assets do not find a buyer.
The company allegedly owes about P1 billion to its close to 700 creditors. Provisional liquidator, Nijel Dixon-Warren has said during an interview that creditors will have to wait to see whether a buyer can be secured to restart some, or all of the BCL operations.
‘If so, there may be a dividend to creditors, but it is not known what this might be. If we are unable to sell the operations, then we will have to sell piecemeal. Ultimately, if we cannot sell many assets and BCL has to close fully, then creditors will not get anything,” he said.
Dixon-Warren, however said he does not have information at hand as to how much BCL owes its creditors. He explained that final liquidation means that the formal liquidation process can now commence. He added that the first legal requirement is for the first meeting of creditors to be held at the High Court.
“I will be meeting with the Registrar and Master of the High Court shortly to agree on the date. It is likely to be three months from now. The first meeting of creditors provides the opportunity for creditors to submit their claims and for the final liquidator to be appointed,” he said.
He also noted that care and maintenance is likely to continue at least until the first meeting of creditors so that they can see if a buyer can be secured. “If there is no real possibility of selling, then we will start to cut back on care and maintenance for those assets that cannot be sold
He added that the process of finding potential buyers is starting now. He stated that he has been contacted by a number of interested buyers so far. “Whether they will actually buy will only be known in the future,” he said.
Though he could not comment on the Norlisk Nickel lawsuit, it is believed to have been putting off potential investors. Norlisk Nickel has filed a $271 million lawsuit against BCL over its botched deal to buy a 50% stake in a South Africa-based nickel mine from the Russian company.
The provisional liquidator said he is also in the process of taking action to recover the money against a Zimbabwean refinery that owes BCL millions of pula.
BCL Mine used to supply matte to a nickel refinery in Zimbabwe that did not pay and BCL had to stop supplying. These operations have a symbiotic relationship such that the Zimbabwean nickel refinery cannot operate if not supplied with matte and without operations, they cannot pay BCL.
The parties made a deal for BCL to take over the refinery to raise money in settlement of debt and the talks were on by the time BCL was liquidated.
“Now I need to assess whether it will be in the best interest of the creditors to recover the money back and this would probably mean that I place the Zimbabwe refinery under liquidation. I do not know how expensive it is going to be and how much will be recovered,” Dixon-Warren said in a previous interview.