Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oaks In Financial Troubles?

Oak's financial model is very precarious. Oaks makes its profit from renting apartments owned by others. All owners of apartments that Oaks manage as their real estate agent can terminate their appointment of Oaks on 90 days notice or less.
Extension to Finance Facilities
Oaks has successfully obtained an extension of its finance facilities to 28 February 2011 as it works through a refinancing process. Oaks' debt levels as at 31 December 2010 is approximately $76 million. Oaks is trying to raise not less than $15 million to be applied towards debt reduction.
Receivers appointed to one of Oaks' substantial shareholders
On 27 January 2011, a notice was lodged with ASX by the receives and managers of The Oaks Apartment Management Pty Ltd and Centrepoint Holdings Pty Ltd, companies associated with the CEO of Oaks, Mr Brett Pointon. These two companies hold over 36% of Oaks' share capital.
Oaks' shares dropped 23% on Friday. See The Age & Courier Mail story.
Colin Archer from Archers Body Corporate Services is a director of Oaks.
Oaks is the onsite caretaker and letting agent for Charlotte Towers, Festival Towers, Casino Towers and Felix.
Oaks profit crashed from $9.7m (2009) to $3.9M (2010). As a result, Oaks did some restructuring, including centralisation of all reservations (which is not always good for the landlords who have appointed Oaks to manage their apartment) and the formation of Housekeepers Pty Ltd as a profit centre in its own right to replace external cleaners and lift levels of service (which sounds like an admission that housekeeping and maintenance was not well done in the past). This raises issues for the body corporate and owners, if the onsite caretaker (Oaks) is contracting Housekeepers to do maintenance paid for by the body corporate.
Brett Pointon's company, Collections Enterprises Pty Ltd, purchased 4 management rights from Oaks in 2009, including 212 Margaret, which was badly damaged in the flood, and Lexicon.
Lots of related party transactions. Not good financial management by Pointon. He is trumpeted as the brains behind Oaks. Sounds like one should avoid doing business with Oaks or investing in Oaks!

From the Oaks website:
"The principles and ethics that firmly ground The Oaks Group were laid down by CEO Brett Pointon over many years of personal experience in strata-titled property management. The group’s impressive increase in its portfolio of properties under management since its foundation in the early 1990’s is thus anchored to astute knowledge of this unique industry. Known for his pro-active, hands on approach, Brett Pointon leads by example, creating an environment in which innovation in marketing is balanced by the utilisation of proven strategic planning systems."

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