Property Observer | 26 February 2013

Becton's 'limited' receivership won't affect business operations: Administrator

Several Becton holding companies have been put into receivership, but their newly appointed administrator says the move will not impact on Becton companies involved in construction, development and retirement businesses.

Administrator Mark Korda, from KordaMentha, said receivers and managers had been appointed to Becton Property Group Limited (BPGL) and a limited number of non-trading corporate subsidiaries.

The action was taken by the company's lending consortium led by Goldman Sachs who have been locked in a struggle for control of the company.

“It is important to understand this is a very limited receivership which affects the ownership and control of Becton, but not the business operations,” Korda said.

“It will be business as usual in the development, construction and retirement operations.”

Korda said settlements on sale of homes and retirement villas will continue as scheduled and deposits for future villas will be preserved.

Creditors, including contractors, will continue to be paid.

Korda said the retirement business was a joint venture between Becton and Oman Investment Fund (OIF) and is unaffected by the receivership.

The receivership will have no impact on resident contracts, service fees, occupation rights or staff entitlements, he said.

The development of the sites known as Bonnyrigg and Waterloo will continue, while the operating companies will continue to be managed by chief executive Matthew Chun.

The ASX was notified the board of Becton Property Group Limited received notification from GSFIG Limited (“GSFIG”) that receivers and managers had been appointed by GSFIG this morning to BPGL, Becton Pty Ltd, Becton Group Holdings Pty Ltd and Becton Construction Group Nominees Pty Ltd.

"The appointment of receivers and managers follows protracted discussions with GSFIG, which elected not to provide the waivers and support requested by BPGL in respect of its debt facilities, which were necessary to ensure the future and ongoing solvency of BPGL," the notice said.

"The board and management submitted detailed restructuring proposals to GSFIG but has been advised that GSFIG is not prepared to support these restructuring proposals. Despite extensive negotiations with GSFIG, the Board has been unable to reach agreement with GSFIG on the merits of the proposals.

"Having exhausted all alternatives available to it, the board therefore has no reasonable basis for believing BPGL will continue to be in a position to pay its debts as and when they fall due.

"Accordingly, BPGL notified GSFIG of events of default under its debt facility agreements with GSFIG and the board invited GSFIG to appoint receivers and managers to BPGL, Becton Pty Ltd, Becton Group Holdings Pty Ltd and Becton Construction Group Nominees Pty Ltd.

"In the absence of any transaction which could achieve value for shareholders, the board considers that its actions have maximised the expected outcome for other stakeholders of the group, including employees and creditors."

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