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NAB stopped by regulators

NAB stopped by regulators

(24 November 2009 – Asia) Regulators have stopped the 60 percent owned extension of NAB’s investment arm, Cambridge Industrial Trust, in making a bid for the MacarthurCook Industrial Trust over the weekend. Investors for MacarthurCook were due to meet in Singapore to approve its refinancing by the NAB banking arm to keep the trust afloat.

The trust needed to make a deal as it is under contract to repay S$266 million (A$178 million) in debt and to buy a S$90 million industrial property.

The group has stated that it does not have the money to pay the debt or to purchase the property.

All shareholder resolutions were to be in by Saturday, but Singapore’s regulators stopped Cambridge’s plans to take over the management on Friday night.

Investors and lawyers will attend a meeting and the debate will be hot as to whether there were serious issues of conflict.

The deputy chairman, Greg Bundy, and the fund’s manager, Mark Thorpe-Apps, agreed that NAB is conflicted by the actions given its role as the group’s financier for the fund’s recent S$430 million rescue package.

This involved a share placement to 'cornerstone' investors, a rights issue and S$215 million in loans.

As a result Cambridge came out as a new shareholder with a 10 percent stake.

Mr Thorpe-Apps said yesterday that the issue was becoming ‘farcical’ and that the NAB had lost a lot of face among Singapore investors as a result.

NAB said in rebuttal that the situation showed that the bank's various operations acted independently.
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