Companies

SportPesa firm spared dissolution in the UK

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SportPesa chief executive Ronald Karauri. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • SPS Sportsoft offers gambling software and support services and has common shareholders with its parent firm Sportpesa Global Holdings Limited (SPGHL).
  • The company did not say why it faced dissolution and which party resisted the move.

  • The law, however, states that a UK company can be dissolved by its creditors or if it fails to comply with its legal obligations.

A UK-registered SportPesa company has been spared dissolution after an unnamed party successfully objected to the proposal that would have seen its assets worth Sh2 billion forfeited to the government.

SPS Sportsoft offers gambling software and support services and has common shareholders with its parent firm Sportpesa Global Holdings Limited (SPGHL) and Kenya’s pioneer sports betting firm Pevans East Africa Limited.

“Cause has been shown why the above company should not be struck off the register and accordingly the registrar is taking no further action under section 1000 of the Companies Act 2006 pursuant to the notice dated 22/09/2021,” SPS said in a new notice.

The company did not say why it faced dissolution and which party resisted the move.

The law, however, states that a UK company can be dissolved by its creditors or if it fails to comply with its legal obligations.

Any interest party including creditors, shareholders and employees can object to a company’s application to be struck off the register and dissolved, making it critical to gain their support.

If the dissolution was implemented, SPS’ assets amounting to £13.2 million (Sh2 billion) –based on latest disclosures for the nine months to December 2018— would have been surrendered to the UK government which says it does not inherit liabilities of dissolved firms.

“Property, cash and any other assets owned by a company when it is dissolved automatically pass to the Crown. This is because the law says this happens,” the UK government says on the process of taking over ownerless property technically known as bona vacantia.

“Liabilities of a company do not pass to the Crown on dissolution: they are normally extinguished.”

SPS’ creditors would have risked losing a combined £8.5 million (Sh1.2 billion) that they were owed in the review period.

The now-thwarted move to dissolve SPS comes after its biggest client, Kenya-based Pevans, ceased operations in 2019 after the government declined to renew its operating licence citing billions of shillings in unpaid taxes.

Pevans paid the Liverpool-based multinational £20.6 million (Sh3.1 billion) in the nine months ended December 2018, accounting for 96 percent of the total revenue of £21.6 million (Sh3.2 billion) in the period.

Pevans’ operating licence was cancelled in July 2019 over unpaid taxes and penalties that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) now says stand at Sh95 billion.