Treasury assets sale row over valuation
SUBSIDIARIES OF Treasury Holdings acquired by Richard Barrett last week for €2.263 million are believed to have been valued at more than 50 million Singapore dollars (€31.8 million) earlier this year in a report by Goldman Sachs.
The Irish Times has learned that this report was submitted on July 23rd to the board of Treasury China Trust (TCT), a Singapore-listed company connected with the two companies acquired by Mr Barrett last week.
Its findings have not been made public by the company.
On August 28th, Mr Barrett acquired Treasury Holdings Real Estate Pte Ltd (THRE) and Treasury Holdings (Shanghai) Property Management Co Ltd (THSPM) via a Jersey-based company called Oriental Management Services Ltd.
THRE acts as treasury manager to TCT, a commercial property developer in China that is listed in Singapore. THSPM provides property management services to TCT, which is 30 per cent owned by Mr Barrett and his business partner Johnny Ronan.
The two entities exercise considerable control over the affairs of TCT. Mr Barrett and Mr Ronan jointly own Treasury Holdings.
It is understood that Goldman Sachs completed a strategic review of TCT earlier this year to evaluate how the company might maximise shareholder value.
Its share price is currently operating at a discount of more than 70 per cent to its net asset value.
The review is understood to have considered a number of options including liquidating the company, taking it private and internalising the trustee manager THRE. This report is believed to have been presented to a board meeting of TCT on July 23rd. Three days later, all board members of TCT were stood down and a new board appointed.
Of the original board, only Mr Barrett, TCT executive Richard David and the company’s legal counsel and non-executive director Rory Williams were returned to office.
Non-executive directors Jen Shek Voon, Ray Horney and Stuart Leckie were removed from the board. When contacted about the report, Mr Leckie said: “The Goldman Sachs valuation is a very material multiple of the €2.3 million .”
He declined to say what valuation had been placed on the entity. Mr Jen and Mr Horney also declined to comment on the valuation. Between them, THRE and THSPM earned S$24.7 million in fees from TCT in 2011. The companies were valued by two Irish accountancy firms in advance of Mr Barrett’s acquisition of them.
Mr Barrett has said he paid the higher of the two valuations but he has declined to identify the accountancy firms.
It is not clear why there would be such a large difference between the valuation placed on the assets by Goldman Sachs and the price paid last week by Mr Barrett.
Treasury Holdings is due to submit an affidavit to the High Court later this month in relation to the transactions in advance of the winding-up petition against the company by being resumed in early October.
Neither Treasury Holdings nor Mr Barrett would comment on the Goldman Sachs report.
The two companies were acquired on the night of August 27th by Mr Barrett.
The following day, the transactions were mentioned in court by KBC Bank Ireland and the National Asset Management Agency during a hearing on a winding-up petition filed by KBC.
Nama changed its stance on the winding-up action from “neutral” on Monday to joining KBC in the litigation as a result of the deals emerging.