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Oppenheimer family to buy Phumelela

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Race and sports betting operator Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Group is selling its horse-racing business to the Oppenheimer family to get out of debt.

Horse-racing at Flamingo Park Racecourse. File image. Pictures: Danie van der Lith

Cape Town – Race and sports betting operator Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Group is selling its horse-racing business to the Oppenheimer family to get out of debt.

The company, which manages horse racing and tote betting in the Western Cape on behalf of Kenilworth Racing, published its official business rescue proposal, which aims to pull the struggling company out of the financial troubles that led to it filing for bankruptcy protection in May.

Back in May, Phumelela got a R100 million financial lifeline from one of its largest creditors, Mary Oppenheimer Daughters (MOD), which is operated by Mary Oppenheimer-Slack and her daughter Jessica Jell, members of one of South Africa’s richest family.

Last week, the firm’s business rescue practitioner (BRP), John Evans, presented a R550m bid put in by MOD to Phumelela creditors for approval.

“The BRP received many expressions of interest for the component parts of the business or assets.

“Following a fast-track sale process we received formal proposals from those interested parties. The implementation of the plan will result in a better financial return and general outcome to concurrent creditors as opposed to a liquidation of the company,” said Evans.

“The adoption of the plan will allow the BRP time to effect an orderly sale of Phumelela assets – assets other than those which MOD are acquiring conditional to their R550m financing,” said Evans.

Spokesperson for the restructuring task team Charles Savage said: “We are very pleased with the plan presented by John Evans.

“Mary Slack and Jessica Jell have a long history of horse racing and breeding in South Africa and they have a strong desire to secure the Phumelela racing assets for the immediate benefit of South African horse racing, as well as to assist in transforming racing to a long-term, sustainable and all-inclusive industry for the benefit of all concerned.”

Cape Argus