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Strategic halts interest, dividend payments

Thursday 11th September 2008

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Strategic Finance, the ailing finance company being acquired by its managers, halted interest and dividend payments as it finalises a capital restructuring plan.

The company invoked a clause in its preference share terms to suspend a dividend payment if it is likely to cause it to fail a solvency test under the Companies Act. Perpetual Trust, the trustee under Strategic's debenture deed, required the suspension of payments, chief executive Kerry Finnigan said.

Managers, directors and partner BOS International this month agreed to acquire the business from Allco HIT in a deal valued at about NZ$90 million.

The group will pay NZ$25 million cash, inject NZ$15 million of new funds into the business and acquire loans for NZ$50.2 million, according to a company statement today. As part of the transaction, partner BOS International will increase its debt facilities to the company to NZ$150 million from NZ$100 million.

Perpetual yesterday forced rival finance company, Dominion Finance Group into receivership owing some NZ$224 million to investors.

Under Statregic's plan, holders of its debentures, notes and preference shares will be asked to accept new terms, with the bulk of the securities to be replaced by new debt instruments that trade on the NZX.

Remaining debenture stock will be repaid on a delayed basis over 24 months, it said.

By Jonathan Underhill



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