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Hedge Funds Make Cut-Price Raid On Tchenguiz Resi Business

U.K. sheltered accommodation

A low-profile hedge fund is trying to buy the debt secured against one of Vincent Tchenguiz’s residential businesses at a big discount to its face value.

Clifton IOM No.1, an Isle of Mann-based fund, has offered to buy £420M of senior debt from bondholders of sheltered housing company Fairhold at a 60% discount in an effort to have an influence over the complicated restructuring process of the business.

The fund has offered to buy the company’s £20M junior debt at a 99% discount to its face value.

Other hedge funds including Hayfin have already bought into Fairhold’s debt, as the company seeks a resolution to its financing issues.

The company has a portfolio which comprises the ground rents of more than 18,000 sheltered accommodation apartments in 406 blocks across the U.K. Moody’s estimated it was worth more than £550M in 2015, the last time it was revalued.

But the portfolio is underwater. In addition to the £440M of securitised debt Clifden is trying to buy there is an interest rate swap liability of more than £500M, putting the total amount of debt liabilities at almost £1B.

The borrower — essentially companies controlled by Tchenguiz — bondholders and banks have been trying to restructure the debt since the loan matured in 2015.

Tchenguiz tried to sell his entire ground rent portfolio for £3.5B in 2012 — he was on the verge of launching the sale the night before he was arrested in 2011 in relation to a Serious Fraud Office investigation. The investigation was ultimately dropped.

No single buyer was found at the price he wanted. Instead, he sold some, including a portfolio worth £250M, to a fund backed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing in September 2014, and refinanced others.

Clifden is a specialist real estate hedge fund that has bought almost £2B of U.K. residential mortgages in the past four years. It is also trying to buy £2B of U.K. residential loans securitised by General Motors before the credit crunch.

The directors include Rizwan Hussain, the former head of Trading and Portfolio Management in the Principal and Distressed Capital division at The Royal Bank of Scotland.