Listed retirement giant Metlifecare is going to court over the withdrawal of a $1.49 billion takeover off for the business which was announced late last month.

The business headed by Glen Sowry has just issued a statement, revealing it has begun litigation today and had a hearing set for later this month.

"At a procedural hearing in the High Court today, Justice Graham Lang set a court date of May 28 to consider Metlifecare's application for initial orders to call a meeting of shareholders to vote on the scheme plan contemplated by the scheme implementing agreement," the business said.

Metlifecare said it was "pleased to give an update on its dispute with Asia Pacific Village Group" about the status of the December 29 scheme implementation agreement.

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Asia Pacific is an entity owned by EQT Infrastructure IV fund and managed by EQT Fund Management S.à.r.l.

"Justice Lang indicated that before the court determines the initial orders, Metlifecare should file its separate proceedings challenging Asia Pacific's April 28 notice to terminate the agreement," the business aid.

"Metlifecare confirms that it intends to file these proceedings during next week."

It hopes to hold a shareholder meeting to consider the scheme in late June or early July, subject to the approval of the court.

The Metlifecare board has rejected the notice to terminate as entirely invalid and reiterates its belief, based on legal advice, that there is no lawful basis for APVG to terminate the agreement.

"Metlifecare remains strongly committed to the successful completion of the agreement in the interests of all shareholders," it said.

Metlifecare has retained the services of Stephen Hunter QC and Chapman Tripp.

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Asia Pacific says the pandemic breakout resulted in Metlifecare's asset value plummeting by more than $200 million, based on long-term cash flows. It cannot proceed with its planned $1.49b takeover of the business whose shares were trading around $7 before the pandemic but sank to just over $4.

Asia Pacific also accused Metlifecare of deferring at least $34.6m development, remediation, maintenance and refurbishment work outside of New Zealand's alert level 4 lockdown. Work due before the end of June was being pushed into the next financial year, and 2021 activity is being pushed into 2022, it said.