Govt gets back 72c in $1 after guarantee

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

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Mascot Finance is being wound up after receivers returned about 72 cents in the dollar from its distressed loan book to the Government, which bailed it out.

The failed Canterbury lender, since renamed Tocsam, was put into the administration of the Official Assignee Southern Region at the High Court in Christchurch yesterday.

Mascot was the first of six failed finance firms covered by the Crown's retail deposit guarantee that was enacted when the 2008 global financial crisis squeezed highly-speculative financiers.

In March 2009, Mascot was put into receivership by its trustee, Perpetual Trust, under Deloitte Christchurch partners Brett Chambers and Paul Munro.

The Crown guarantee meant the Government repaid depositors and took over the secured rights to what could be recovered. At the start of the receivership it had 343 loans owing $82.7m.

After the directors allowed for bad loans, the total expected was $65.4m.

The receivers sold the firm's Christchurch and Timaru buildings and auctioned vehicles, and other fixed assets and chattels earning $2.6m. That compared to the assets' book values of almost $2m at the receivership date.

Besides chasing up the firm's loans, the receivers rustled up $44.3m of recoveries for the Crown.

In October 2011, the Government set up Crown Asset Management (CAM) to take on the remaining toxic assets of the failed finance companies under Crown guarantee.

In September, Mascot sold the 12 remaining loans - worth $17.9m on face value - to CAM, fetching $1.85m.

That sale, along with another $1m cash on hand brought the return to the Crown to 72.37c in the dollar, with a shortfall of almost $21m.

Another $3.3m of unsecured deposits was still owed, plus unsecured claims totalling $72,000.

Ordinary shareholders took a bath for $15.2m.

After that, the firm's name had to be changed from Mascot.

Receiver Chambers said it had been a relatively simple receivership because of the Crown taking on all the rights of depositors. Also, the directors had started to wind down its loan book and tidy the company up, before the managers were called in, he said.

"In the context of all the fellow finance companies, it's an amazing return," Chambers said.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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