Becton shares placed in trading halt

THE troubled developer Becton Property Group has placed its shares in a trading halt as the company struggles to meet its debt obligations to the US investment bank Goldman Sachs and the vulture fund Fortress Investment Group.

THE troubled developer Becton Property Group has placed its shares in a trading halt as the company struggles to meet its debt obligations to the US investment bank Goldman Sachs and the vulture fund Fortress Investment Group.

The announcement was followed by the damaging resignation of the director Andrew Kerr, who is the managing director of Telopea Capital Partners, a major shareholder.

It is the latest in a series of setbacks for the residential developer and retirement village operator, which has been fighting off demands for greater control from the investors Mariner Corp, Titanium Property Investment and Telopea.

Becton is expected to be locked in discussions with Goldman Sachs and Fortress over the weekend. Unresolved breaches of the debt agreement could allow them to call in the loans, pushing the 36-year-old company into receivership.

The two companies bought $242 million worth of corporate and project debt at a discount from Bank of Scotland early last month, sparking a trading halt for Becton.

Last week, Becton announced that it expected to post a net operating loss of between $2 million and $3 million for the half-year.

The forecast for the statutory loss after tax is between $10 million and $12 million.

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