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National Property manager bows to pressure to step aside

Thursday 24th June 2010

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The manager of National Property Trust agreed to relinquish its management rights for $2.5 million and sell back its holding in the property investor, bowing to pressure from a group of unitholders including the Cushing family.

National Property Trust is one of two vehicles in the St Laurence group that escaped the parent’s receivership when Perpetual Trust last month ignored St Laurence managing director Kevin Podmore’s proposal to swap debt in the company for equity in a new business.

The National Property manager said it has been developing a proposal to exit management of the similarly named trust as part of a proposal that would see unitholders swap their securities for shares in a new company. Details of the plan are to be included in the notice of annual meeting to be sent out in early July.

Under the proposal, which still needs to be put to a vote of unitholders, the manager would see 31.95 million units back to the trust for 51 cents apiece, for a total of $16.3 million. The units traded at 52 cents yesterday.The St Laurence-owned management company would transfer all management systems and information to a new entity, it said in a statement yesterday.

The unitholder group led by the Cushing family agreed to withdraw a request for a special meeting to vote on dumping the manager provided the manager agreed to relinquish its role.

Under a timetable for the changes, the trust would seek agreement in principle at the AGM on July 30, a full vote would be held at a special meeting before Nov. 30 and the new structure would be put in place by April 1 next year.

The Cushing-led group holds more than 10% of the trust, which gave it the right to call for the special meeting for the ouster of the manager. It said the management company’s fees were out of whack with the trust’s performance.

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