Mining chief ordered to pay for shares
MINING entrepreneur and JSE-listed Tharisa Minerals chairman Loucas Pouroulis was on Wednesday ordered by the High Court in Johannesburg to pay $4.82m in interest and costs in a lawsuit brought against him by a Cayman Islands fund.
The Siebels Hard Asset Fund claimed Mr Pouroulis had not paid for shares he had agreed to buy from it, an accusation Mr Pouroulis disputed.
At the heart of the matter was Mr Pouroulis’s desire to buy all the shares owned by Siebels in TransAfrika Resources, a company founded in 2007 by Mr Pouroulis, who is the nonexecutive chairman, and in which his family owned a 17.85% stake.
However, a capital restructuring exercise by Mauritius-registered TransAfrika meant Mr Pouroulis received fewer TransAfrika shares than he had wanted and received shares in Canada-registered Desert Gold Ventures, which was part of TransAfrika’s capital restructuring plan.
Judge Pieter Meyer ruled that the agreement struck between representatives of Siebels and Mr Pouroulis had to be honoured, despite the mix of shares Siebels handed over to Mr Pouroulis.
He ordered Mr Pouroulis to pay Siebels interest of 9% per annum accrued since April 11 2014 and costs of two counsels.
“We have every intention of filing an application for leave to appeal,” Terry Mahon, Mr Pouroulis’s lawyer, said.
According to affidavits, Mr Pouroulis agreed in April 2012 to buy 3.3-million shares in TransAfrika at $1.50 each.
The value of the deal was $4.967m and the parties agreed he would receive a $125,000 discount.
TransAfrika has exploration permits in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mauritania.
Green Cay Private Client chief operating officer Joseph Byrne, whose company manages Siebels’ investments, said in his affidavit that Mr Pouroulis and Siebels concluded a written agreement about the share transaction taking place as soon as the Tharisa listing had taken place.
The agreement stated Mr Pouroulis would buy “all the shares purchased by Siebels Hard Asset Fund in TransAfrika and Desert Gold Ventures …”
Tharisa listed on the JSE on April 10 last year, but despite appeals for the funds to be paid for the as-yet untransferred shares, no money was forthcoming, Mr Byrne said.