Sandy Maier leads fight against ANZ's property fees

ANZ subsidiary OnePath has had its bluff called over proposals to rake in payouts totaling $46.5 million from the sale of management contracts of property trusts.

ANZ subsidiary OnePath has had its bluff called over proposals to rake in payouts totaling $46.5 million from the sale of management contracts of property trusts.

In one move, former South Canterbury Finance chief executive Sandy Maier has teamed up with two other prominent businessmen to propose a cheaper alternative to internalise the management of the NZX-listed Vital Healthcare Trust.

Vital’s manager, owned by OnePath (NZ), had proposed a deal that would see it paid $14 million to relinquish the management contract.

Mr Maier and colleagues David Glenn and Craig Priscott have formed a new company, Ascot Property Management Limited, and come up with a new deal which they said could remove the manager for no more than $4.5 million.

In a letter to unitholders, Ascot proposed a unitholder meeting in August to vote on removing the current manager and appoint Ascot as new manager.

The plan would result in a termination fee of $3.1 million and Ascot would get a “success fee” of $1.4 million.

“It is likely that parties or individuals associated with the current manager will go to some lengths to justify the $14 million payment and also paint our proposal as fraught with risk,” Ascot said.

“We strongly disagree that the risks of our proposal are any higher than the risks of the current proposal, and have completed our own analysis of the risks.”

“You should also bear in mind why the current manager (or its associates) might attempt to portray our proposal as risky – essentially so the current manager can try and justify the proposed termination payment of $14 million to itself!”

Meanwhile, independent directors of Argosy Property Management, manager of the Argosy Property Trust, said today they would not recommend to unitholders a payout of $32.5 million to OnePath for termination of the management rights.

The decision was made after feedback from investors and further analysis by financial advisers First NZ Capital.Fund managers at ACC, the NZ Super Fund and BT have written to the manager requesting a meeting of unit holders to vote on the proposal.

The group requested the trustee to urgently consider removing the manager and putting in place a temporary one while an internalisation plan is thrashed out.

The four unitholders represent 9.57 per cent of the Argosy share register and have been active in forcing change at other companies, including Guinnness Peat Group.

Argosy’s directors said they remained in discussions with OnePath (NZ) “with a view to agreeing a payment that will achieve the orderly transition of management, while recognising the termination options available to unitholders.”

Unitholders would receive more information from an independent report prepared by Grant Samuel.

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