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Court orders liquidation of PTC

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The High Court’s Commercial Division in Blantyre Friday ordered that People’s Trading Centre (PTC) should be liquidated.

On February 18, 2022, Press Corporation Limited (PCL) and Tafika Holding Limited signed a sale agreement transferring ownership of PTC to the latter at a consideration of K6 billion that was meant to service the company’s debt arrears.

In June, Tafika applied to the court for an order of reorganisation of the company and that an administrator be appointed to manage PTC’s affairs during the period of reorganisation.

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Tafika applied for the reorganisation on grounds that it was unable to settle its debts.

However, some ‘interested parties’ including PTC creditors opposed the application.

Passing judgement yesterday, Justice Masauko Msungama said PTC should wind-up and that the selling of the company to Tafika should be considered that it did not take place at all.

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Msungama said there is no real prospect that reorganisation of the company would enable it to survive. He described PTC “as good as dead.”

“I order that People’s Trading Centre should be liquidated. There is no real prospect that reorganisation for the company will enable it to survive,” reads part of the judgment.

According to the judgement, those who opposed the reorganization order argued that it was not possible for the reorganisation to be achieved under the Insolvency Act.

They further said they believed that it would be irresponsible for the court to grant such an order.

They also urged the court to bear in mind the fact that when the company was being sold, the idea was that the buyer would pay off the rest of the debts after Press Corporation Limited had paid the bulk of it.

In his judgement, Msungama said Tafika Holdings Limited failed to prove, as it argued, that it has financiers that are willing to pump funds into the company.

“These assertions have not been able to be supported by any concrete evidence or the basics that the court can base at,” read part of the judgement.

In an interview, Tafika Holdings Chief Executive Officer Arson Malola said they are studying the judgement before considering the next course of action.

In a separate interview, PTC Chief Executive Officer Ferdinand Mchacha said they will wait for the official receiver who the court has appointed to guide on the way forward.

“We will also be consulting our lawyers on the fate of the employers. I will be able to give you more details after concluding the consultation processes,” Mchacha said.

Since the sale, PTC employees have been protesting for not being paid their salaries for months.

In her response to the judgement, Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule said her ministry will follow up on the matter to ensure that employees are prioritised.

“When all assets have been, sold the proceeds therein will be used to pay off creditors and employees. Our interest and focus will be on the employees to ensure that each one of them gets their dues in this process,” Kamtukule said.

PTC Limited was opened on May 2, 1973.

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