Construction group Basil Read, which was founded 66 years ago and has been listed on the JSE for more than three decades, is on the brink of collapse. The company on Friday said it had filed for a voluntary business rescue process as it was in a state of "financial distress" after lenders decided not to support the ailing contractor. This resulted in Basil Read's shares plummeting more than 90% within minutes. After opening at 18c on Friday, the stock fell to an all-time low of 1c before closing the week at 2c. The company, which was worth R2.5-billion at the end of 2007, is now valued at less than R30-million. To mitigate its cash-flow problems, Basil Read has been trying to raise bridge funding from a group of lenders while it finalises certain contracts and sells noncore assets. But after "protracted negotiations", most lenders in the consortium decided they were not prepared to provide Basil Read with funding outside of a business-rescue process, the company said. A collapse of ...

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