The Red Disa consortium’s equity deal in securing a controlling shareholding in WP Professional Rugby (Pty Ltd) was this week approved by the South African Competition Commission.
DHL Stormers coach John Dobson delighted in the news, saying: “It felt like Christmas had come early for the players, management, coaches and supporters of rugby in the Western Cape.
“It is a huge moment for rugby in our province and for the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province professional teams,’ said Dobson.
“It finally feels real now that the Competition Commission has ruled on the deal, and it could not have come in a more appropriate week,” said Dobson, referencing the DHL Stormers’ Investec Champions Cup match against defending champions Stade Rochelais of France.
“These are historic moments in our rugby history in this province. Red Disa’s ownership is vital for the financial future of our rugby and I look forward to working with the new ownership, with our primary ambition our desire to create the most innovative and exciting club rugby brand in the world, as we strive to marry on field excellence and performance with the best business practices off the field,” he said.
The DHL Stormers will play at the DHL Stadium for the first time this season in the first ever clash with Stade Rochelais, which Dobson described as another of those historic moments that spoke to the new era of the DHL Stormers.
“We have hosted six successive Vodacom United Rugby Championship play-off matches at DHL Stadium, including two successive Grand Finals, with last season’s final against Munster played in front of a tournament record 56 600 crowd. We also hosted a Round of 16 match against Harlequins in the Investec Champions Cup.
“Now we get to host the defending Investec Champions Cup champions, whose squad is stacked with world-class players. It is going to be massive and the setting could not be more ideal for us, with the kick-off at 15h00 on Saturday, with glorious sunshine expected,’ said Dobson.
“We want to make everyone proud and we want to give our new owners and wonderful supporters a win against the best team in Europe,” he added.
The Clubs that constitute the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) General Council, on 30 August, voted by significant majority in favour of Red Disa’s equity deal of 74 percent ownership. The WPRFU retains the remaining 26 percent.
The Red Disa consortium is made up of Cape Town-based investment holding company Fynbos Ekwiteit and Ardagh Glass Packaging, a global business with a strong South African presence. The Cape-based personal investment company of Andre van der Veen, Marble Head Investments, completes the consortium.
Fynbos Ekwiteit’s Johan le Roux reiterated the company’s excitement at the investment into the DHL Stormers and WP Rugby.
“As Capetonians and lifelong fans of WP Rugby and the DHL Stormers, we know what this team means to the people of this province and our investment will only make for a stronger rugby offering in our pursuit to be a world leader in the game,” said Le Roux. “The Competition Commission’s approval is fantastic news and we are in the process of finalising administrative details with SA Rugby.”
Paul Curnow, CEO of Ardagh Glass Packaging: Africa, expressed his delight in the Competition Commission’s decision, along with the ambition to make the DHL Stormers the best in the sport and he also reiterated Ardagh’s many initiatives in South Africa, which includes the expansion of capacity in the Nigel facility, the ‘money4glass’ recycling programme, the new Employee Share Ownership Plan and the establishment of the Africa IT Centre of Excellence in Cape Town.