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.