Wellington, Aug 27 NZPA - The future of ailing finance company South Canterbury Finance (SCF), placed in a trading halt today, may be decided on Monday, with two investment offers understood to be on the table.
South Canterbury has been searching for a new major shareholder and it has waivers from breaches to its trust deed until August 31.
One supporter of former chairman Allan Hubbard told NZPA that SCF's board rejected one offer received yesterday for about $350 million, in favour of an offer of $175m.
"The higher offer, which was significantly higher than the offer the board of South Canterbury Finance accepted, would have been very beneficial to South Canterbury Finance and its investors," said Paul Carruthers.
Despite being credible, the higher offer was rejected with not much consideration, but was on the table at the insistence of Treasury, he understood.
Timaru businessman Mr Hubbard was chairman until March and president for life of the finance company, one of the biggest non-bank institutions in New Zealand.
SCF is not affected by the statutory management of Mr Hubbard's affairs but the Government is a key player in its survival as it is covered by the Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme.
The interest.co.nz website reported a recapitalisation proposal was now sitting with Treasury and cabinet would consider it on Monday.
Torchlight, the Pyne Gould Corporation-owned property funds manager run by South Island businessman George Kerr, earlier abandoned a plan to inject equity into SCF and instead increased lending.
It is believed the equity investment did not go ahead because it had to be approved under the deed for the deposit guarantee scheme.
Last week Standard & Poor revised the SCF's long-term credit rating downward to CC.
SCF chief executive Sandy Maier said then that good progress was being made on the recapitalisation of the business with the target of making an announcement on August 31.
Separately, Richard Simpson and Trevor Thornton of Grant Thornton New Zealand said investors in Mr Hubbard's Aorangi Securities were highly unlikely to receive significant amounts of capital back before Christmas, and interest payments to them remained suspended.
About 300 investors in Hubbard Management Funds (HMF) were also told that the company overstated its value by at least 25 percent on March 31, reporting non-existent investments and cash balances.
HMF assets were worth only $61 million at the end of March, not $82m as stated.
Mr Hubbard said that five weeks ago he had submitted a proposal to the statutory managers and Registrar of Companies for the Aorangi and Hubbard managed funds, but had received no response.
He felt he and his wife Jean had been attacked personally.
"Not to have had the courtesy of a copy before its release, let alone the opportunity to review it, is very disappointing," Mr Hubbard said in a statement.
"I have to say that I am very disappointed that while they have continually told me to refrain from speaking about these issues in public, which I have respected, the statutory managers ambush me in the media in this way."
Within the last six weeks, Allan Hubbard has called in PriceWaterhouseCoopers to independently audit the statutory managers appointed by the Government, Mr Carruthers told NZPA.
"The results of that audit are that PWC have found HMF one of the better producing funds they have seen."
Mr Hubbard did not accept today's report, which was a snapshot of his cashflow at its lowest point and based on incorrect methodology, Mr Carruthers said.
According to the report, Aorangi received $96m 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.
Of the $83m invested in farms, $59m is invested in farming businesses associated with Mr Hubbard.
An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office is continuing.
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