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Receivers appointed to Rural Super bonds scheme

Apple Fields attempts to thwart the wind up of the Rural Super Bonds scheme has forced Tower Trust to call in the receivers.

Thursday, August 19th 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Apple Fields attempts to thwart the wind up of the Rural Super Bonds scheme has forced Tower Trust to call in the receivers.

 

Tower Trust (formerly Trustees Executors) says it has appointed either receivers or a property manager to 68 Apple Fields' subsidiary companies. These companies each own a share of the eight properties over which the scheme has security.

The decision to appoint receivers brings to a head an already acrimonious wind-up process which has been before the courts three times already and cost about $900,000.

Tower Trust managing director Jim Minto says the move was done to protect the interests of the scheme's 1300 members who are owed nearly $13 million, however, he acknowledges Apple Fields is working to a different agenda.

The trustee has been trying to conduct an orderly wind-up of the scheme since November last year when Apple Fields defaulted on interest payments it guaranteed.

Under the wind up Tower wanted to sell the properties and make equitable repayments back to the scheme members.

However, he says Apple had "thwarted" the process, and the company had refused to "co-operate and to provide necessary and timely information".

"We have achieved some sales but we have had to decline others because of serious reservations about certain aspects of the offers. These include arrangements to delay settlement, unconventional marketing, payments to other parties and payments which are conditional on rezoning land further down the track," Minto says.

To date scheme members have had about 55 cents in each dollar repaid.

Minto says the trustee wanted to get investors the best possible result from the wind-up and it wanted to avoid a firesale of properties.

"As a result of our actions, it is possible some prospective buyers may expect the scheme’s properties to be available at bargain prices. This is not so.

"We are also advised that potential buyers are already aware that Apple Fields may be in financial difficulties and therefore anxious to sell its remaining properties. In these circumstances, Tower Trust’s action will be neutral or even beneficial for sale prices," he says.

"We are absolutely determined to make sure the remaining (members) get the best possible result," Minto says.

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