St Laurence - No Connection With Bridgecorp
News Release, 03 July 2007
St Laurence Reiterates No Connection With Bridgecorp
Following a recent media report, funds management and finance company St Laurence Limited wishes to reiterate that there is no shareholding or other connection to Bridgecorp NZ (which was placed in receivership yesterday).
St Laurence managing director Kevin Podmore said that St Laurence has only had a lending relationship with Bridgecorp. St Laurence had previously made an advance to Bridgecorp in late December 2006, using Bridgecorp’s stake in Dorchester Pacific as security. That loan was fully repaid to St Laurence Limited in April 2007. “All lending activity has been at normal commercial terms with very solid levels of security that meet our strict lending criteria.”
Mr Podmore says “As per our annual results for the year ending 31 March 2007 released in May, St Laurence is in an extremely favourable position.”
“We have over $53.8 million in cash at balance date, trust deed ratios for our investors implemented in 2006 that lead the industry, and diversified income streams from our funds management acquisitions in 2006. The company yielded a net surplus after tax of $15.2 million for the year,” Mr Podmore says. This was up from $5.4 million in the previous corresponding period. St Laurence’s equity position increased 162%, or by $33.3 million in the 2007 financial year, resulting in an equity ratio of around 16.4%, again amongst the highest in the industry.
The strength of the core finance business and the diversification to include funds management meant St Laurence was awarded a B2 investment grade rating by NZ based ratings agency Risk Analysis in October 2006. This is up from the B3 rating awarded to St Laurence previously. “Our rating of B2 investment grade means that in the finance sector, we perform better than 81% of our peers,” Mr Podmore says.
“Recent events further highlight the need for greater disclosure and transparency and mandatory ratings for finance companies. St Laurence endorses the government’s actions and is pleased to be leading the market in terms of investor protection and transparency,” Mr Podmore says.
BACKGROUND Australasian investment and finance group St Laurence has been active in property investment and finance markets since 1995, and in September 2006 created a substantial property-based lending, funds management, asset management and fund investment business under a single company, St Laurence Limited.
As well as being a financially robust company with a diversified asset base and income streams, the injection of $23m in share capital significantly strengthened the company’s capital base. St Laurence focuses on four main areas of business activity - funds management, asset management, fund investment and property-based lending. The group manages more than $1.1 billion of assets for over 16,000 investors, and provides a range of property-backed fixed interest and other property-based investment products.