GEORGE NEWS - The owner of Tekkie Town, Pepkor, is free to do with the business as it pleases.
A Western Cape High Court order in April 2019, in favour of Tekkie Town founder Braam van Huyssteen and other former Tekkie Town executives, prohibited Pepkor to sell the business or deal in shares relating to Tekkie Town.
Pepkor appealed the ruling and last week, on 21 October 2020, a bench of five judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal Court (SCA) unanimously ruled to uphold their appeal. The preservation order was pending the final determination of a dispute between Pepkor and former Tekkie Town executives regarding the ownership of Tekkie Town.
In a media statement following last week's ruling, Pepkor said, "Tekkie Town forms an integral part of the Pepkor group and Pepkor continues to make significant investment in Tekkie Town and its employees, but welcomes the legal basis and principle that no restrictions should apply. Although Pepkor operates independently, we further welcome that Steinhoff is free to reduce its shareholding in Pepkor below 50% if they choose to do so - again from a principle point of view. This
is the fourth ruling in succession in favour of Pepkor that has gone against Mr Braam van Huyssteen and his colleagues in the Tekkie Town saga."
In August 2016 Van Huyssteen and former Tekkie Town CEO Bernard Mostert sold Tekkie Town to Steinhoff, who sold it to Pepkor Holdings in 2017. Pepkor maintains that it bought Tekkie Town "for value and with full consent" from Van Huyssteen and Mostert who at the time were Pepkor executive committee members.
Upon inquiry, Mostert commented, "The judgement does not make any difference to our aim of getting our business back and the enrichment that Pepkor, as a full affiliate of Steinhoff on 1 July 2017, acquired. We are however very satisfied with the SCA's summary that the transaction regarding Tekkie Town was twofold - firstly, a swap for shares and secondly, a bonus agreement regarding the performance of Pepkor Speciality. Pepkor has up till now tried to deny the bonus agreement."
In July this year, the SCA also found in favour of Pepkor when it issued a restraint of trade against Mr Tekkie (the new company founded by Van Huyssteen and former Tekkie Town executives) which prohibits it to trade in a certain range of footwear.
Regarding this order, Mostert said no court has as yet issued a judgement where any shoes have been identified. "Pepkor's application to, at a later date, add the list of shoes to the court order, was rejected by Judge Elizabeth Baartman."
Asked about Mr Tekkie's performance in the current economic climate, Mostert said, "It was an interesting year for everyone and we are surely one of the few retail groups that have shown growth, for which we are grateful. We will conclude the year with about 46 shops, which means we will have added about 15 outlets since October last year."
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