Archive | St Laurence

St Laurence exits lending, proposes phased debenture repayment

Published 25 June 2008

St Laurence Ltd said yesterday it had decided to exit its moneylending activities and would withdraw its prospectus immediately. It’s proposing a phased repayment scheme for existing debentureholders.

 

St Laurence’s majority owner, Kevin Podmore, said: “This decision results from rapid changes in the property-lending markets, affecting many financiers & investors. Although the company is not currently in default of its obligations under its trust deed, given the current environment there is considerable risk that it might do so in the future.”

 

Mr Podmore said St Laurence had advised its trustee, Perpetual Trust Ltd, of its intention to seek its debentureholders’ approval for a scheme of repayment and, for that purpose, had commissioned an independent advisor’s report so details of the scheme can be sent to investors in July.

 

“The scheme will be a proposal to repay the principal amount of debenture stock outstanding on an instalment basis. The board believes this is the most prudent course of action to protect investors’ funds as it exits its lending operations. Debentureholders will continue to receive interest until they have been repaid in full.

“The decision is consistent with St Laurence’s philosophy of putting investors’ interests first. There is simply too much risk & uncertainty on our investors for us to continue our moneylending operations. We have not run out of cash, but cashflows are at risk.”

 

Mr Podmore said the decision had no effect on St Laurence Property & Finance Ltd and holders of its debentures, bonds & mandatory convertible notes. “Nor will it affect St Laurence Ltd’s role as manager of The National Property Trust or its other various funds management activities in relation to individual property syndicates.”

 

The National Property Trust Ltd, a subsidiary of St Laurence Ltd which manages the listed National Property Trust, said its parent’s decision didn’t affect the business activities & assets of the trust or its management company.

Dorchester Pacific Ltd, which holds a 25% stake in St Laurence, was unsure of the effect on it. Dorchester chairman Barry Graham said: "The board of Dorchester Pacific intends to undertake an immediate review of the potential impact of these decisions on the company’s investment in St Laurence."

 

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Attribution: Company releases, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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St Laurence Mortgages increases pretax surplus 61%

Published 4 July 2006


St Laurence Group’s primary lending vehicle, St Laurence Mortgages Ltd, increased its March year net pretax surplus by 61% to $6.3 million.



St Laurence Mortgages increased consolidated revenue by 51% to $27.4 million, total assets by 54% to $226.5 million and total debenture stock on issue by 57% to $201.4 million. Most of the debenture stock issued during the year had a maturity term of 2 years or more, reducing the company’s exposure to short-term changes in market conditions.


Chief executive Paul Chapman said the 2006 result demonstrated the strength of the company’s operations: “In the past year we have focused on improving liquidity and increasing our cash holdings to ensure we are well placed to participate in new lending opportunities as they arise.”


About 70% of the portfolio is in New Zealand and the balance in Australia. The Australian portfolio is concentrated in Queensland and is managed by St Laurence’s Sydney-based lending & property management team.


About 53% of the portfolio is secured by first mortgages (up from 48% in 2005) and the rest by second mortgages.


Mr Chapman forecast that the loan portfolio would grow in the next financial year, despite predictions of an economic slowdown.


But, “while growth is important to St Laurence Mortgages, it would not be at the expense of asset quality, with both management & the board focused on the need to maintain a well diversified & conservatively geared portfolio.


“We believe we can achieve this by increasing our focus on markets such as Auckland & Australia, which have been largely untapped by us to date. Over the year, St Laurence Mortgages has built up its equity and increased its liquidity to prepare for & facilitate this growth.


“There is growing evidence that the New Zealand economy is slowing down, with a number of financial market observers predicting a more challenging economic environment. In such an environment, experienced finance companies with strong fundamentals, who keep within their areas of expertise, are better able to weather an economic downturn.


“St Laurence Mortgages is well placed in this respect, particularly from liquidity & equity perspectives. The company benefits from being able to access the considerable experience & expertise in property investment, development & management of the wider St Laurence group.”


St Laurence Mortgages is part of the $1 billion St Laurence property-based investment & finance group, which includes NZDX-listed active property investment vehicle St Laurence Property & Finance Ltd. St Laurence is also the portfolio manager of NZX-listed National Property Trust, which has $260 million in assets under management.


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Attribution: Company release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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