First local Lehman asset put on the block

Lehman AssetBaan Taling Ngam Resort on Koh Samui, owned by the defunct Lehman Brothers (Thailand), will be offered for tender later this month.

It will be the bank’s first asset in Thailand to be sold as an open-market transaction since the giant Wall Street investment bank collapsed in late 2008.

Binswanger Brooker (Thailand), a property consultancy, has been reviewing Lehman’s local assets for the past three months as a consultant for potential investors. “[Lehman Brothers] assets that we’re looking at mainly are hotel and hospitality businesses,” said Nigel Cornick, CEO of Binswanger Brooker (Thailand).

“We have studied the opportunity for our clients to buy debt or stakes held by Lehman Brothers.”

Baan Taling Ngam Resort was one of four assets Lehman Brothers (Thailand) purchased from listed developer Natural Park Plc’s subsidiary Pacific Assets Plc in October 2005 in a transaction totalling 3.22 billion baht.

Lehman Brothers (Thailand) also owned two leasehold office buildings – One Pacific Place and Two Pacific Place on Sukhumvit Road – as well as Pantip Court Executive Residence on Sathon Road and Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club in Phuket.

Lehman’s investment in Thailand totalled about US$1 billion, representing about 0.33% of worldwide assets of US$300 billion, said Mr Cornick.

Assets Lehman Brothers jointly owned with partners included the Mercury Building and the Ital-Thai Building.

Lehman Brothers was also a creditor of three companies – Natural Park Plc, Grande Asset Plc and Central Group. The bank’s debt to Raimon Land Plc has been settled, he said.

“We are also taking a look at a few listed property firms to see whether there is any chance to buy stakes,” said Mr Cornick, who joined Binswanger last July.

“Most listed property firms are in a good shape now but only a handful of them need debt restructuring.”

Binswanger’s recent activity includes acting as a consultant to the buyer in the acquisition by investor Well Base Development Limited of 156.36 million shares of Golden Land Property Development Plc (GOLD) last month, which accounted for 24.82% of the company.

On Feb 3, Chan Bulakul, as a representative of Well Base, was appointed as a member of GOLD’s executive committee.

Mr Chan is major shareholder of the MAI-listed Brooker Group, which holds 60% in Binswanger Brooker (Thailand). The remaining 40% is held by Mr Cornick.

Binswanger Booker is involved in a deal worth 3 billion baht for Thai investors looking to acquire entities, stakes, debts and properties. The company expects to close the deal within six months.

The firm was established four years ago by the Brooker Group with a registered capital of 7 million baht. It advises clients from the United States and Japan that want to buy, sell or rent industrial estate.

The company has been advising a manufacturing company seeking to sell a factory and an automobile-related firm that may sell a factory in Thailand.

The company also advises Thai clients on real estate investments, asset acquisitions and re-developing properties.

 
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