Cyre Trilogy Group says it does not like fights.
The Sydney-based property-investment group says its effort to secure shareholder approval to replace APGF Management and become the entity responsible for four Austgrowth property-unit trusts is because shareholders have demanded it.
A year ago Trilogy won control of six Austgrowth property funds, valued at about $45 million, after unit holders voted to remove fund manager APGF as the entity responsible for managing their commercial buildings.
Trilogy manages about $450 million in commercial property and mortgage trusts.
“The Trilogy tactic has been to secure enough votes through irrevocable powers of attorney to call a meeting and take over property-fund management rights for its own benefit,” says APGF managing director Geoff McMahon in a statement.
Not so, says Trilogy’s two founders, chairman Rodger Bacon and director Peter Arnold.
After a bruising fight last year to secure management of six Austgrowth property syndicates, Bacon and Arnold say when investors approached them to lead a campaign to become the entity responsible for the four remaining Austgrowth property syndicates, they threw their hands up.
“Our first reaction was ‘you’re joking,’” says Bacon. Trilogy’s total costs were $250,000.
“It’s a really tough thing to do, to replace a responsible entity. It was a surprise to us how strongly emotional the whole thing becomes,” says Bacon.
He believes Trilogy is on the cusp of victory in its latest spate with APGF.
About 1000 unit holders in the four Austgrowth property funds will hold a meeting on June 4 in Sydney to decide the fate of APGF.
“This is not about Trilogy being asked to act for investors, it is about Trilogy aggressively approaching investors to secure their votes so they can take over,” says APGF’s McMahon.
Trilogy rejects such claims.
Last year when the company sought to change the entity responsible for the six Austgrowth funds, APGF said a change in management would mean unit holders will have to pay a stamp duty and bank credit may be cut, according to Trilogy’s Arnold.
“It was part of a scare campaign by APGF and their adviser Ben Parsons of Castle Partners,” he says. “We felt the objective of APGF and Castle Partners was to turn a democratic process into a circus.”
Parsons declined comment. APGF’s McMahon says it was Trilogy who orchestrated a campaign of misinformation.
“We made no such claims regarding stamp duty,” he says. “Our reference to bank facilities was a statement of fact. A change of manager is an event of default under the loan agreement and means that the agreement must be renegotiated.”
Arnold says shareholders are concerned that three of the four remaining Austgrowth funds, valued at $65 million, are trading below their issue price in an improving commercial-property market.