Property company controlled by F&C Reit chairman’s family trust goes into receivership

Pinton Estates, a property company controlled by Leo Noé, has gone into receivership.

Deloitte’s Nick Edwards and Lee Manning were appointed joint receivers to Pinton and 18 subsidiary and related companies on Wednesday last week by Prudential, which is acting as a security trustee for holders of high-interest debenture stock that Pinton holds.

Prudential took the action after more than 20% – the required minimum – of debenture holders voted for receivership.

This was prompted by Pinton’s inability to make, in full, the half-yearly interest – or coupon – payment on the stock on 3 March. Pinton blamed this on not receiving rent from one of its tenants for the first quarter of this year.

Pinton owns £75m of UK properties, which are held in individual subsidiary companies and provide security for the £70m debenture, on which Pinton pays interest of 10.75% to 11.25% a year. It also has £10m of cash.

Pinton is owned by Trafalgar Overseas, a company incorporated in Gibraltar, which is controlled by Noé’s family trusts.

A spokesman for F&C REIT, which is chaired by Noé and acts as asset manager to Pinton, said: ‘We understand that Trafalgar is continuing in its discussions and hopes to resolve the matter in the near future.’

The most recent financial results posted at Companies House show that Pinton made a pretax loss of £6.1m in the year to 31 March 2008. Rental income of £11.6m more than covered the £7.9m annual interest on the debenture stock.

Pinton was called Raglan Estates until May 2000, when Noé, advised by REIT Asset Management, bought a portfolio of properties and the debenture from Raglan Properties.

Raglan was one of four portfolios with debentures attached that Noé bought between 1999 and 2004. Two of the other holding companies, Ashpol and Estates & General, are also in breach of their terms.

Ashpol, which used to be called South Ocean Group, bought a £130m portfolio with a £75m debenture, carrying interest of 10.75% a year, from Allied London in 2000. In January this year it said its properties, generating income of £8.4m a year, were valued at £111m, which was below the £125m minimum value requirement.

Law Debenture Trustees wrote to the company in August 2008 to say that it had until the end of the year to remedy the deficit ‘and that failure to do so could result in the security for the stock becoming enforceable’. As at 22 January this year the deficit had not been remedied.

Estates & General, a listed company that Noé bought in 2004 for £71m, holds £19.85m of debenture stock in two tranches. The £3m stock was due for repayment on 31 December 2008 and, because it was not repaid, is technically in default. The company is in talks with the stock holder about whether it wants to refinance it.

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