DECONSTRUCTED: Without a prayer

Not even Madonna’s promotional skills could save Japanese property developer Properst from bankruptcy. PERE magazine June 2010

When a cultural icon is hired to help promote a company, the business in question usually has enough projected growth to rationalise the costs of any celebrity endorsement. Despite having recruited pop diva Madonna three years ago to promote high-rise apartment sales in central Tokyo, however, Japanese property developer Properst Co. was forced to file for bankruptcy protection this May.
With $599 million of liabilities following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the resulting credit crunch, the company had little choice but to wave the white flag, Bloomberg reported. In 2009, new condominium sales in greater Tokyo fell to their lowest levels in 17 years, while commercial land prices plummeted to their lowest in 36 years and eight of the 10 biggest bankruptcies among listed Japanese firms were at real estate companies.

Properst will maintain its stock listing on the Jasdaq market during the bankruptcy process, thanks in part to capital raisings from private placement and debt equity swaps, but it is unlikely that the material girl will be spotted in any more of the firm’s commercials.