British property investment firm Active Asset Investment Management Limited (aAIM Limited) has collapsed after its investments in Europe nose-dived in value.
The £3 billion (€3.8 billion; $4.9 billion) property investment company had been dubbed the “property firm to the stars” by the UK media. Investors included Manchester United football club manager Sir Alex Ferguson, veteran UK journalist Sir David Frost and British property entrepreneur Grant Bovey.
aAIM Limited, a subsidiary of the real estate investment firm, aAIM Group, managed ten special purpose vehicles investing in retail, office, hotels and car showrooms in France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, the Baltic States and the UK. The firm targeted IRRs of around 15 percent, using leverage of up to 90 percent. One of aAIM Limited’s European property funds, Symmetry, made more than €1.2 billion of transactions since it was launched in 2006.
Accountant Grant Thornton has been called in to act as administrator to the firm, which has been renamed JCCO. “[We are] continuing to manage the affairs of the special purpose vehicles while assessing the value and status of the bridging loans. We expect to hand over the management to either a new company or existing asset management teams,” Robert Caven, of Grant Thornton, said in a statement. aAIM was unavailable for comment by press time.
Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) held a 20 percent stake in aAIM Limited, having invested £200 million in the firm. HBOS is in the process of merging with UK bank Lloyds TSB after the banks were rescued as part of the British government’s £20 billion bailout package.