Payless supermarkets gets Ellis Retail Group as suitor

Kabelo Adamson
CHANGE ON THE HORIZON: Payless store finds a buyer

Payless Supermarkets, which is currently going through the liquidation process, will soon get a new owner should the Competition and Consumer Authority (CCA) give the proposal the green light.

Ellis Retail Group (ERG) (Pty) Ltd has notified the Authority of its intention to acquire the business and certain assets of Payless Supermarkets.

ERG is a limited liability company and a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) being used to affect the proposed transaction.

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The Botswana-based organisation is described as a private investor with a focus on insurance, petroleum, and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

It is said that since incorporation, ERG, which is owned by Acute Global Limited, has not had any form of trading activity in the country.

Acute Global, an investment holding company is itself owned by Accurate Component (Pty) Ltd, with its sole shareholder and director being Patricia Moshokwe. Former Letshego Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Colm Patterson is the sole director of ERG.

Payless, which operates in the FMCG space, currently runs six stores in Gaborone as well as outlets in Mochudi, Tlokweng, and Molepolole.

Should the deal go through, it would breathe fresh life into Payless, which has endured high-profile struggles in recent times, with empty shelves becoming a regular sight in its stores.

The business has been in liquidation since the 3rd of June 2020 and under the control of the liquidator, Kopanang Thekiso.

In March last year, Choppies, through its distribution centre, dragged Payless majority shareholder, Saleem Malique to court over a P121 million debt.

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In total, the enterprise was said to owe suppliers a whopping P1.3 billion.

Malique, who owned a 90 percent stake in Payless, was summoned to court as he had committed to taking responsibility for the business obligations to Choppies Distribution Centre (CDC), by ceding and pledging his Payless shares.

Now, after being in liquidation for six months now, CCA is set to determine whether to give ERG the go-ahead to acquire the business.

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