Norwich homes and retail development in doubt, after company goes into administration

Norwich development in doubt, after company goes into administration

A subsidiary of the Norwich-based Targetfollow Group has gone into administration – but the 90 jobs in the city and 200 nationwide are not believed to be under threat.

However, the planned Harford Place development off Hall Road in the south of the city, which includes homes, commercial and retail space, could be affected.

The High Court in London yesterday<27> allowed Lloyds Banking Group to appoint administrators to Targetfollow Property Holdings Ltd (TPH), a holding company within the Targetfollow group.

The group, based in Riverside Road in the city centre, owns a national portfolio of properties worth hundreds of millions of pounds, including London's Centre Point.


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Targetfollow Estates Ltd, the management company which employs the group's staff, is unaffected by the administration, a spokesman said.

However, a spokesman said that another subsidiary of the group, Targetfollow Property Investment and Development, was expected to go into administration today<28>, which would place the future of the Harford Place development in the hands of administrators. Together, these subsidiaries represent about half of Targetfollow Group.

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Targetfollow chairman and founder Ardeshir Naghshineh said they would be happy to offer assistance to the administrators, Deloitte, to maximise value for the benefit of all stakeholders.

He added: 'Obviously we are disappointed at this turn of events because, as is widely understood in the property industry, myself and my expert team are the best people to extract full value from the portfolio.

'However, if the appointment of administrators stops the wanton destruction of value that has characterised the bank's interference over the past 12 months, then that will be a move in the right direction.'

Earlier this week, The Evening News revealed that a 'high quality consortium' of investors pledged �150m to write off a portion of the company's �700m debt to Lloyds Banking Group and enable it to continue trading.

Targetfollow hoped the �150m would allow the company to 'release further value' in its properties and avoid the need for emergency sales.

The company said the deal addressed Lloyds' concerns by enabling restructuring of the business while paying debt 'in an orderly manner'.

Earlier this month, Lloyds attempted to force Targetfollow into administration in a High Court hearing, but the case was adjourned.

The company sought the support of Norfolk MPs earlier in the year, and they helped secure time from Lloyds to allow it to come up with alternative to administration, but no agreement was reached.

Neville Kahn, Phil Bowers and Matt Smith of Deloitte LLP, the business advisory firm, were appointed by the High Court as joint administrators of TPH.

The principal assets within the TPH group of companies are approximately 14 investment properties, being a mixture of office, retail, leisure and residential assets.

Neville Kahn, partner in the reorganisation services practice at Deloitte, said: 'Deloitte is working closely with all stakeholders to support the ongoing management of the properties. This is a holding company appointment only, and the property owning companies continue to trade as normal.

'Arrangements are being made for the continuation of all property management services on an ongoing basis, and we expect no interruption to services for tenants.'

<t> Are you trying to help a struggling business in the city? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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