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Setback for Vantis in Stanford liquidation

14th Jun 2010
Editorial team AccountingWEB.co.uk
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UPDATETrading in Vantis shares on the AIM has been suspended following news that the firm has been removed as joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank. (See the comment below)

Vantis partners Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell have been removed as joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank by the High Court of Antigua.

The firm said it intends to appeal against the decision to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.

Vantis share prices took a significant dip recently after Ernst & Young issued a going concern warning in the group’s six month interim report. Fees not yet recovered in respect of the group’s work on the insolvency of Stanford International Bank (SIB) were cited as a major contributing factor.

The Swiss authorities recently agreed to pass control of SIB’s assets in Switzerland to the liquidators – totalling more than $100m – but the recovery of this amount now hangs in the balance.

Should the case be transferred to a new liquidator, Vantis’ fees could be challenged, as could its priority in payment – both of which could represent a major setback for the firm.

The group recently announced that it was looking at ways to reduce the debt in the firm's balance sheet.

According to a recent article in the Times, the firm owes more than £50m to a consortium of banks including Lloyds TSB, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Vantis chief executive Paul Jackson told the Times that the group was holding discussions with potential investors about selling part of the firm. “Negotiations with both investors and the company’s banks are at an early stage and there can be no certainty as to the impact on current shareholders or the terms of any agreement which may be reached,” said Jackson.

 

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David Winch
By David Winch
14th Jun 2010 09:30

Shares suspended amid going concern worries

Trading in Vantis shares on the AIM has been suspended today.  Vantis have said:

 

"Suspension of shares from trading on AIM

As has been previously announced, the Board of Vantis has been focussed on reducing the Company's level of debt. The Board now announces that, although discussions continue in relation to the disposal of certain of the Company's assets as well as with both potential new investors and its debt providers, it can no longer be certain that it will continue to have sufficient funding to enable it to continue to trade on a going concern basis. Accordingly, in accordance with the AIM Rules, trading in the Company's ordinary shares has been suspended pending clarification of its financial position.

A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.

Board changes

The Board of Vantis also announces that Paul Jackson and Nigel Hamilton-Smith resigned as directors of Vantis plc on 12 June 2010. Steve Smith, currently Finance Director, will take over all executive responsibilities until a replacement Chief Executive is identified. Mr Jackson and Mr Hamilton-Smith will retain their executive duties within the Vantis group of companies."

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By Gina Dyer
14th Jun 2010 12:04

Many thanks...

...for the update David.

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