4 Dec 2008

PWC not optimistic about moratorium at Strategic

7:07 am on 4 December 2008

Optimism that investors in Strategic Finance will get all their money back is not shared by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PWC was employed by the trustee to assess a moratorium proposal by Strategic, which aims to repay $325 million over five years to 15,000 investors.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says the current poor state of the property and finance markets does not fill it with confidence that investors will be repaid in full within the five year timeframe.

It notes that 60% of the company's $478 million loan book is in default, while another 7% avoided missing repayments only by an extension of the due date.

About 59% of the loan book is secured by second ranking mortgages, meaning Strategic does not get first call on the money.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says that will make it difficult to recover some of the loans and the provisions for bad debts should be increased.

But PWC is encouraged that Strategic has the backing of its banker, BOS International, which has provided a $75 million facility and put a limit on the interest rate Strategic is being charged.

While there are risks that investors won't get all their money, PricewaterhouseCoopers sees very little difference between the proposal and putting Strategic into receivership.

It says Strategic's proposal has its merits, and investors should get a chance to consider it.

Investors vote on the proposal in Wellington on 22 December.