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Rates round-up: June 11

Liquidators appointed to South Canterbury Finance; Five Star Finance director avoids jail; bond yields, deposit rates continue to fall

Monday, 11 June 2012

by Niko Kloeten

The long wind-up process of collapsed lending giant South Canterbury Finance has continued with the appointment of liquidators to a number of companies in the fallen group.

John Fisk and David Bridgeman of PricewaterhouseCoopers said last week they had been appointed as liquidators of eight companies within South Canterbury Finance Group.

Those companies are Southbury Corporation, FCS Loans, ECAF, Quality Lease Cars, Galway Park, ZNH Nominees, Hornchurch and SCF Hawkes Bay.

Fisk said they would review the position of each of the eight companies to determine the best way forward.

He also said liquidation of Southbury, the parent company in the group, was expected to take place in the next three months.

Their appointment followed the sale of South Canterbury Finance's bad bank assets into Crown Asset Management, the company set up by the Government to manage toxic assets from government-guaranteed finance companies.

The bailout of South Canterbury Finance cost taxpayers $1.7 billion, with the final shortfall expected to be about $1 billion.

Five Star Finance director avoids jail

Convicted former Five Star Finance director Anthony Bowden has been sentenced to a second stint in home detention after admitting to charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Bowden was originally sentenced to nine months' home detention in December 2010 after being convicted on charges brought under the Securities and Financial Reporting Acts by the Financial Markets Authority.

Last week in the High Court at Auckland he was sentenced to another nine months in home detention, this time after pleading guilty to Crimes Act charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.

Justice Paul Heath also ordered him to carry out 100 hours of community service, bringing his total across the two sentences to 400 hours.

Five Star Consumer Finance owed secured debenture holders about $54.5 million when it was placed into receivership in 2007, of which about $17 million has been recovered so far.

Bond yields, deposit rates continue to fall

New Zealand government bond yields have continued to fall as interest rates drop across the board.

Last week saw $150 million of bonds maturing in 2023 sell at a yield of 3.39%, reportedly a record low and continuing a run that has seen it fall in at least five successive weeks, from 3.75% to 3.66% to 3.54% and finally to 3.45% the week before last.  

Also on offer were $100 million of 2019 bonds, which were flat at a 3.04% yield (3.03% the week before).

Meanwhile, the six-monthly bank deposit rate is also hovering near record low levels at 4.1%, just above the all-time low of 4.05% late last year.

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