11 Dec 2009

Offer not good enough, say Hanover investors

9:13 am on 11 December 2009

Some investors in troubled finance company Hanover believe Allied Farmers' offer to buy the company's loan book should be rejected.

About 500 investors grilled Hanover directors about the proposal at a meeting in Auckland on Thursday.

Under the proposal, Hanover's loan books would be swapped for shares in the rural services firm and investors would get 78c for each dollar invested.

Hanover directors say if the offer is rejected, the company could eventually face receivership.

Hanover investor Murray Weatherston says the deal would result in more than 1 billion shares being issued to many people who would be eager to sell them, which would depress their value.

Mr Weatherston says the deal is not good enough.

"I think the investors will be very, very disappointed when they swap their debentures in Hanover and United for share scrip, which will prove both to be equally ill-liquid.

"If they actually are able to sell it, they will get far less value than what it's being issued to them at."

Mr Weatherston urged people at the meeting to reject the proposal, saying investors would only end up being disappointed.

Best option - Hanover director

An independent director for Hanover says it is a much better outcome than for many other finance companies to date.

Des Hammond told investors on Thursday the proposal is their best option, as the current debt restructuring plan could eventually lead to receivership.

When he said they could get a good return if they were patient, many investors responded by saying: "Yeah right".

One investor told directors he had lost almost all his life savings, at which most of the audience called out: "Haven't we all".

When co-owner Mark Hotchin took the stage, dozens of investors - many of whom are in their 60s and 70s - yelled abuse, with some saying they had been ripped off and others telling him to get out.

As he spoke with investors afterwards, he was closely followed by security guards.

The final Hanover briefing takes place in New Plymouth on Friday, with a vote next week.