IVG - General - UK & Europe, IVG seeks compensation from former managers over Gherkin deal
Date: 10 Dec 2013
IVG seeks compensation from former managers over Gherkin deal
IVG Immobilien, the German property investment company which recently applied for creditor protection, has confirmed to a request by Propertymall.com this morning reports in German media that it is seeking compensation against four former managers over its deal in 2007 to buy the Gherkin, 30 St Mary's Axe, in London for £630m.
IVG bought the Norman Foster designed office in a joint venture with Evans Randall from Swiss RE just before the credit crisis for what was at the time Britain's most expensive office building.
Swiss Re booked a gain of more than £300m from the sale just three years after completion, even with inflation and operating costs included.
IVG, once Germany's biggest publicly held property company, has struggled and was hit particularly badly by the financial crisis. The story is one of the most remarkable in commercial property. Since a high price of EUR 35 in 2007, the share price has declined steeply and is now at just EUR 0.072. The market cap declined from a high of EUR 4.06 billion to just EUR £14.97 million now.
In August this year IVG filed for creditor protection after failing to reach an agreement over its debt, which stands at around £3.3 billion. Talks are continuing with creditors to see if a deal can be struck. Creditors are thought to include Ceberus, Blackrock and three others.
Now IVG have confirmed that they are seeking compensation from four former managers for around £7m each plus interest after an investigation with law firm Hengeler Mueller into past purchases by the firm. The claims are against former CEO Wolf Leichnitz and his former colleagues on the board Bernd Kottmann, Andreas Barth, and Georg Reul, and are thought to concern breaches of duty to the board with regard to the purchase.
Bernd Kottmann, one of the four managers, went on to be CEO of Germany property investment firm GSW but this year resigned following a shareholder revolt. Read the full story here http://www.propertymall.com/property-news/article/32807-How-a-shareholder-revolt-dismissed-two-goliath-property-chiefs-in-Germany
By Harry Hanscomb
German outlet sources:
The Gherkin at 30 St Mary Axe. Photo by Duncan Harris