Australia's Trilogy admits defeat, for now

ROB STOCK
Last updated 05:00 24/02/2013

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Australian funds management company Trilogy has admitted it has no immediate plans to renew its failed attempt to take over a frozen mortgage fund in which around 2750 Kiwi investors have money trapped.

Late last year, Trilogy succeeded in taking over one of the "feeder" funds that channelled cash into the LM First Mortgage Income fund, but its attempt to take over the main fund ended in farce when it claimed mail delays led it to call off an investor vote.

But while Trilogy may be smarting from that, and jibes from LM founder Peter Drake who claims the vote was cancelled because Trilogy realised investors backed LM to continue managing the fund, it is not ruling out making another attempt.

It won't be soon though.

Trilogy's Philip Ryan said no new bid was being prepared, but that Trilogy was continuing to monitor the performance of LM and was gathering information before deciding what to do next.

"We haven't finished yet," said Ryan, but would not say when, if at all, a new vote would be called.

"We remain interested and are gathering data."

Ryan said LM had been very clever in adopting the three legs of the plan Trilogy had devised for the fund: slashing fees, selling assets in a shorter timeframe, and communicating more frequently with investors.

"It has been quite clever on LM's part to effectively adopt what we were doing," he said.

But he continues to claim that Kiwi investors, who had around $140 million in the fund when it was frozen in 2009, would be better off having Trilogy at the wheel and is continuing to question the valuations of the loans held by the LM First Mortgage Income fund, which has seen the unit price slashed from $1 to 59 cents.

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- Sunday Star Times

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