Hubbard report - investors get 3c in the dollar now

Allan Hubbard. Photo / The Listener
Allan Hubbard. Photo / The Listener

Investors in Allan Hubbard's Aorangi Securities have been told they might get an initial repayment of up to three cents in the dollar later this month, but will have to wait till the middle of next year for any more.

The Government put South Canterbury Finance majority shareholder Allan Hubbard and his wife Jean under statutory management on June 20, with charitable trusts, Aorangi Securities, and later, Hubbard Management Funds.

Hubbard was the founder, and chairman for life, of South Canterbury Finance (SCF) which went into receivership in August with taxpayers paying out $1.6 billion to investors under the retail deposit guarantee scheme.

Seven trusts were placed under statutory management.

Aorangi received $96 million from investors and $34m of equity from Mr Hubbard. It invested $130m, comprising $83m in farms, $24m in the Te Tua Charitable Trust and $23m in mortgages to a range of business of which $10m is to Southbury Group, a company associated with Mr Hubbard.

Statutory managers Richard Simpson and Trevor Thornton said in their first report that they had found "clear evidence that there is an intricate and complex relationship between the affairs of Aorangi, Te Tua Trust and the affairs of Mr and Mrs Hubbard and other associated entities".

In their latest report released this afternoon, Richard Simpson, Trevor Thornton and Graeme McGlinn of Grant Thornton say that "with the help of Mr Hubbard" they had identified a number of assets that may be sold in the short to medium term.

In the longer term they said they were also hopeful of distributing a further 20 cents in the dollar to Aorangi investors by the middle of next year, if they are able to sell these assets at expected values.

"We will not be undertaking a "fire sale" and will only sell if it is in the best interests of the investors and Aorangi," said Richard Simpson in a press statement.

"While the exact amount of the October capital payment to Aorangi investors cannot yet be confirmed, it is pleasing to note that Te Tua Charitable Trust will be able to make a payment of $600,000 to Aorangi," he said.

The assessment of the Aorangi investment portfolio required further loan and property value review work. Possible losses from Southbury and Te Tua could total $25 million. Whether Aorangi investors will recover all their investment will depend on the loan and asset sale process, and the ultimate level of money Hubbard has in Aorangi, said Simpson.

"Finalising the distributions could take a number of years," he said.

The timing of payments for Hubbard Management Funds (HMF) investors was still unclear.

The statutory managers said in today's released that while the HMF share portfolio had performed positively over the last few months, the recent receivership of South Canterbury Finance had had an equally adverse effect on value.

Simpson said: "We have appointed a reputable firm of independent investment advisers and sharebrokers to provide investment advice and assistance in managing the share portfolio of HMF.

"We have been advised that the portfolio appears to have been constructed on a high risk - high return philosophy and until we are able to sell certain investments there is a risk of loss."

Simpson said presently 24 per cent of the current portfolio value was in unlisted entities. Australia-listed investments outside the ASX200 represented almost 24 per cent of the portfolio with a large percentage of the listed portfolio made up of smaller listed company investments "which may be difficult to sell because of limited demand."

Approximately 32 per cent of the portfolio was invested in resource and exploration companies.

Simpson said that there were important legal questions to be considered "as the statutory managers, along with their professional investment advisers, develop strategies to ensure that HMF is carefully wound up in a manner which will maximise the returns to investors whilst reducing the risk in the portfolio."

"The nature of the fund is not clear and although investors may consider they had an individualised portfolio, features of the underlying management of the fund suggest investors' funds were pooled.

Simpson said he was "likely to be seeking the guidance of the Court as to the nature of HMF and the appropriate method for the ultimate distribution of the sale proceeds of HMF assets to investors. "

The next progress report was due at the end of this month.

-HERALD ONLINE

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