Aspen Shareholders Refuse Investment Management Proposals, Decide To Manage Internally

Aspen Shareholders Refuse Investment Management Proposals, Decide To Manage Internally

The Independent Board Committee of the real estate company Aspen Group (ASX: APZ) provided the management update today. With respect to the investment management proposals that it received last year, the company today concluded that neither Mill Hill Capital Pty Ltd (MHC) and nor the Discovery Holiday Parks Pty Ltd (Discovery) proposal was likely to receive security holder approval as per the feedback received in February.

Aspen Group has, therefore, decided to remain internally managed with MHC’s senior executives playing a pivotal role at its Board. Like, the joint owners of MHC John Carter and David Dixon have been appointed by the Independent Board Committee of Aspen to play the role of Aspen’s Chief Executive Officer, jointly. The appointment comes after the resignation of the Aspen CEO earlier this week and will replace both the existing CEO and CFO of the company following the transitionary period.

David Dixon holds more than 29 years of experience in real estate and financial markets industry. Starting his career with funds management division of Bankers Trust in 1989, Mr Dixon has led Morgan Stanley’s Australian REIB business and over $50 billion of M&A and restructuring transactions and $15 billion of capital raisings for leading companies including Westfield, Lend Lease and DEXUS.

John Carter started his career in 1984 with Jones Lang LaSalle which now underscores his experience of over 34 years in real estate and financial markets. John has worked at executive levels in the role like Head of Real Estate Research at UBS in 1991 which was transitioned to the role of Head of Equities in 2001. He has led over $20 billion of capital raising and $10 billion of M&A transactions for Australia’s leading companies including Colonial, Stockland and Westfield.

David Dixon and John Carter currently own and operate MHC which was established by John in 2004.

The report read that both, David and John will undertake their Aspen Group roles on a full-time basis with a fixed base salary of $380,000 per annum exclusive of statutory superannuation. Besides a fixed remuneration, each of Mr Carter and Mr Dixon will reportedly receive a combination of short term and long term incentives.

Further, it has been announced that Aspen will manage MHC’s existing fund Affordable Accommodation & Land Fund and Marina Hindmarsh Island Fund which are undertaking substantial affordable accommodation projects in South Australia. It is expected to earn over $350,000 per annum in management fees and cost reimbursements from this MHC Existing Funds for nil consideration.

More on the employment front, the current employees of MHC Patrick Maddern and Katie Schmidt have been agreed to be employed in operating, development and business administration roles of Aspen Group while also relinquishing their employment at MHC.

Aspen Group stated that the enhanced team has a track record of successful property ventures and has a more entrepreneurial growth focus that outlines the superior status quo than the external management proposals.

Clive Appleton, Chairman of Aspen Group, said, “Aspen is pleased that it has achieved the optimal management outcome for Aspen. The Group is now well positioned to take advantage of the substantial opportunities in the affordable accommodation sector.”

However, Aspen Group is not acquiring MHC nor any of its assets, nor will MHC have any contractual rights over the management of Aspen Group, as per the report.

Aspen’s stock price has edged up by 0.524% to trade at $0.960 on 14 March 2019 (1:18 PM AEST). Over the past one year, the stock has declined by 4.02% including a dip of 0.52% in the past three months.


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