Thursday 2 July, 2020

Harding denies blocking sale of Croskery's SSL shares

Zachary Harding (left), group CEO of SSL Growth Equities Limited and former head of Stocks and Securities Limited Mark Croskery (right).

Zachary Harding (left), group CEO of SSL Growth Equities Limited and former head of Stocks and Securities Limited Mark Croskery (right).

The attorney representing former SSL Group executive, Mark Croskery, says attempts by his client to sell shareholdings in SSL companies are being blocked by the company’s board.

However, Zachary Harding, group CEO of SSL Growth Equities Limited, denies the claim, stating that the board is waiting to meet with the potential buyer.

Ian Wilkinson QC, senior partner at Wilkinson Law, part stated that the buyer’s attempts to connect with SSL have failed.

Croskery previously headed Stocks and Securities Limited and its private equity subsidiary, SSL Venture Capital - but recently resigned from the family operation.

“Please note that on our instructions the potential buyer has made himself available, including supplying contact information to the SSL parties. We have also offered to assist and sought to meet (at least twice) with the SSL parties but we have received no response to our invitation,” Wilkson stated via email.

Croskery's attorney, Ian Wilkinson QC: "We have also offered to assist and sought to meet (at least twice) with the SSL parties."

Loop News reached out to Dawkins Brown, Executive Chairman of auditing and investment outfit Dawgen Global, who sources informed was the potential buyer.

Brown indicated that he had in fact executed an agreement for the purchase of the shares from Croskery.

“I am not able to say much as the transactions are private and subject to a non- disclosure clause,” he said.

He however confirmed that Dawgen Global has executed a sale agreement for Mark Croskery’s shares in SSL Growth Equity Limited and its subsidiary companies. This is approximately 12 per cent in holdings.

Brown concluded: “There seems to be some board resistance in approving the sale of the shares so the transfer can be registered in Barbados.”

He described the plans to acquire the SSL holdings as a “strategic investment for Dawgen Global - Finance Division.”  He added: “We will explore all options after the conclusion of this phase."

Zachary Harding, group CEO of SSL Growth Equities Limited

For his part, Harding told Loop News that no sale will be possible without broad approval.

In a prepared statement from the company, he outlined that Croskery holds more than 10 per cent shareholding in SSL Growth Equity Limited (Barbados), the holding company of the SSL Group of companies.

“In recent months he voluntarily resigned from all boards and from the executive positions which he held across the various subsidiary group companies. He ceased to be a member of the board of the holding company, SSL Growth Equity Limited, effective November 19, 2019."

“Prior to this, he had indicated to the board that he had received an offer from a third party to purchase his shares in SSL Growth Equity Limited at a stated price. He asked the board to consider the matter and sought the board’s approval for him to sell his shares. The board responded that they had no objection to him selling his shares but requested that the interested party meet with the board to allow proper due diligence for the board to make an informed determination.”

Croskery previously headed Stocks and Securities Limited, and its private equity subsidiary SSL Venture Capital but recently resigned from the family operation.

However, to date, Harding said, all attempts at contact with the third party buyer have failed.

“Numerous invitations were issued by the SSL Growth Equity representatives to the prospective buyer to meet to discuss the sale of the shares. The prospective buyer in all instances replied that he was either travelling or unable to meet. In order to demonstrate flexibility, an invitation was extended to have at least an initial phone call with the prospective buyer prior to a face to face meeting, to discuss the matter.”

He said, “Additionally, the SSL Growth Equity representatives offered to meet outside of normal working hours if the prospective buyer found that more convenient. These efforts were all in vain as the prospective buyer was either unwilling or unavailable.”

Harding noted, “Both Mark Croskery and the prospective buyer were written to, advising them that any sale or transfer of shares could only be effected after board approval as stated in the articles of the company. This was repeated on more than one occasion by the Assistant Company Secretary. As a result, at a subsequent board meeting, the matter was discussed, and the board concluded that it was unable to approve the sale without a prior meeting with the third party.”

He said, “We note the suggestion that Mark Croskery is being “wrongfully prevented from selling his shares”.

“We absolutely and categorically reject that assertion as baseless and inaccurate. SSL Growth Equity Ltd remains interested in investors who see and share the vision of the company and whose interests are aligned.”

Harding said the focus of the business continues to be providing the highest level of investment services to its clients, guided by integrity, strict governance and sound management principles.

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