More lottery drama…Czech billionaire Radovan Vitek and his Moranda company has filed for insolvency proceedings against Sazka, the largest Czech lottery provider. There’s just one problem, Sazka has dismissed reports that it is in financial trouble believing that the action by Vitek is only designed to cause panic and reduce the value of its bonds, obligations and shares.
Vitek contends that he bought Sazka’s debt from Raiffeisen Bank International AG and Komercni Banka.
As the Prague Daily Monitor reports, chairman of the Czech Sports Association (CSTV) Pavel Koran, which is Sazka’s biggest shareholder, considers the insolvency proposal as a ploy by Vitek bordering on harassing.
“Firstly, we are convinced that Sazka is not in an insolvency situation. Secondly, we can see Vitek’s steps as a kind of a play when he is trying to provoke panic. He wants to achieve a significantly lower price of Sazka’s bonds so that he can buy them himself,” Koran is quoted as saying in the Prague Daily Monitor.
Sazka board chairman and CEO Ales Husak has maintained that the company is not in a position of insolvency and will use all available means to fight an insolvency proposal. Furthermore, Husak has stated categorically that the company will continue with business as usual.
So who’s telling the truth?
Vitek seems to be giving his own terms, Vitek’s negotiator Josef Lebr is reported to have said that Vitek would be willing to take the insolvency petition back, there’s just one catch. Lebr is quoted in the Daily Prague Monitor as saying “Mr Vitek is willing to impose moratorium on the insolvency proceedings, to freeze them. He, however, has one condition, namely reshuffle of managers at Sazka excluding any requirements for any shares and shareholder rights exercise. The insolvency procedure will be delayed until we are able to analyse the situation and offer an economical solution to the owners,” said Lebr. “This would certainly be the end of Mr Husak.”
So it’s clear that Vitek has his own plans, it appears this one may just be a matter for the courts to decide. No timetable has been set to date for the proceedings.