Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


RESEND: Feltex float ‘squeezed the juice from the lemon’

RESEND: Feltex float ‘squeezed the juice from the lemon’, lawyer says, citing director email

(Fixes garble in lead.)

By Jonathan Underhill

March 18 (BusinessDesk) - Feltex Carpets' former executive director Peter Thomas likened the company's 2004 float to a lemon from which most of the juice had been squeezed out, according to an email cited at a court hearing into a shareholder lawsuit.

The email was cited by Austin Forbes, lawyer for former shareholder Eric Houghton, who is suing the former Feltex directors, owners and sale managers for $185 million in a representative action on behalf of 3,639 former shareholders who say they were misled by the prospectus.

"It was a tough deal - every man and dog wanting a piece of the pie," Thomas said in an email to a Credit Suisse executive after the IPO, according to Forbes. "There's some goodness left in the lemon but we squeezed most of it out. Not bad for a company that was bankrupt 18 months ago."

The email was one of a number cited by Forbes and is within the documents filed for the hearing. In an earlier email, from Thomas to other board members in February, months before the IPO, he gives advice to any "participants" disgruntled that Credit Suisse was taking its money out when other directors were required to retain some of the stock for 12 months.

"Obviously those participants think it's a lousy investment and why should anyone buy them," the email said, according to Forbes. "Hit your projections in the prospectus and it should not happen."

But he also suggested they could buy a put option on the ASX, if not the NZX, which would have value if the market collapsed.

"It is evident there was concern about participants having to keep their shares described in the vernacular by Mr Thomas as lousy shares," Forbes told the High Court in Wellington.

Forbes also went through a catalogue of documents showing Feltex's monthly sales were below year earlier revenue in early 2004.

Houghton bought 11,755 Feltex shares at $1.70 apiece, or $20,000, in the initial public offering in May 2004, drawn to an investment that offered a gross dividend yield of 9.6 percent. All up, vendor Credit Suisse First Boston Asian Merchant Partners, represented on the board by Peter Thomas, raised $193 million, selling 113.5 million shares, and Feltex raised a further $50 million to repay bondholders.

Within a year the stock was virtually worthless, thanks to a series of warnings that the company would miss its prospectus forecasts, and receivers were appointed in September 2006. Australian carpet maker Godfrey Hirst ended up buying the assets.

Of the directors, Tim Saunders, Sam Magill, John Feeney, Craig Horrocks, Peter Hunter and Peter Thomas all had a financial interest in Feltex, Forbes said. Joan Withers, the other first defendant, was the exception.

Credit Suisse Private Equity, the promoter of the sale, is second defendant, while owner Credit Suisse First Boston Asian Merchant Partners is third. First NZ Capital and Forsyth Barr, which managed the IPO, are fourth and fifth defendant.

The case is continuing and is set down for nine weeks.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Hager Raid: Westpac Wrong To Release Bank Records To Police

The Privacy Commissioner has censured Westpac Banking Corp for releasing without a court order more than 10 months of bank records belonging to the political activist and journalist Nicky Hager during a police investigation into leaked information published in Hager's 2014 pre-election book, 'Dirty Politics'. More>>

ALSO:

EARLIER:

Crown Accounts: Government Ekes Out Six-Month Surplus Of $9M

The New Zealand government eked out a tiny surplus in the first six months of the fiscal year as growth in domestic consumption lifted the goods and services tax take, while uncertainties over the Kaikoura earthquake costs meant expenses were less than expected. More>>

ALSO:

Almost 400 Jobs: Shock At Cadbury's Dunedin Factory Closure

Workers at Cadbury in Dunedin are reeling after learning this morning that the iconic Cadbury factory is to close, with the loss of almost 400 jobs... “The company had reported it was doing well and this has come out of the blue,” says Chas. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Boards Of Inquiry For Auckland Roading Projects

Boards of Inquiry have been appointed to decide on two significant Auckland roading projects in a move which will get a decision by the end of the year, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news