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Managers confident Hubbard investors will get cash back

Published: 12:34PM Monday February 04, 2013 Source: ONE News / BusinessDesk

A new report says that investors in Allan Hubbard's failed company Aorangi Securities could get all of their money back, if it is proved in court that they own "introduced assets".

In their thirteenth report into the company, Government-appointed statutory managers Grant Thornton said they are now at the point where they have completed a full overview of the history of Aorangi and its failure.

Statutory managers Richard Simpson, Trevor Thornton and Graeme Carson McGlinn said that it is now up to the High Court to decide how much money investors will get back.

The High Court will look at who owns around $60 million worth of assets that Hubbard and his wife Jean introduced to the company between April 2009 and May 2010.

Allan Hubbard died in a car accident in September 2011, but Jean claims the assets belong to her and her husband's estate.

As a result of the pending court hearing, funds from the sale of any introduced assets are being held in escrow pending the outcome.

By the court's direction, Jean Hubbard's legal costs are being at least partly funded by Aorangi itself and the latest managers' report says that has amounted to $85,000. The money must be repaid if the managers win, they say.

However, Grant Thornton's legal advisors said they are optimistic that investors could receive most of their capital back, subject to the next court decisions "going the way of investors".

"As this matter is before the Court we are unable to provide investors with much of the detail of our case. However, our legal advisers believe our case is strong," the Grant Thornton managers said.

If not, then Aorangi investors will only get around 35 cents in the dollar, including the 15 cents already paid out, which is just $34 million in total.

"We have made progress in 'cashing up' many of these investments and await the outcome of the Court hearing but there are still some loans remaining to secure on behalf of investors, including loans to Te Tua Charitable Trust and other South Island farming interests, and $61.5 million in capital from the 'introduced assets'," a statement said.

Grant Thornton have also asked the court to rule that the Hubbard family only gets paid for those assets after investors are paid out.

The Hubbard's "introduced assets" into Aorangi in their personal capacities, as trustees of various trusts and as company shareholders and directors.

Those assets were in the form of shares and loans in farm owning companies, partnerships and commercial entities.

"We have provided the High Court with affidavits which outline Aorangi's history and our conclusions, based on the evidence we have found, as to why assets were introduced in 2009 and 2010," said Grant Thornton.

Grant Thornton's fees for the administration of Aorangi rose to $3.6 million as at December 21, bringing total costs to $7.1 million including legal advice.

That is up from the $2.99 million accrued to Grant Thornton and total costs of $5.7 million as at the end of August last year.

The case will be heard on May 20 at the Timaru High Court.