Boss McKenna ‘put every button on every shirt he’s got into this deal’

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All of Queenstown – and thousands of Kiwi investors in troubled Hanover Finance – will hope Kapiti Coast money guru Chris Lee has had his good ear to the ground.

Lee has “a little more informed speculation” since Mountain Scene spoke to him last week about the shock Kawarau Falls receivership.

He’s heard there’s “now a very good chance” Bank of Scotland, though troubled itself, will fund the completion of stage one of the billion-dollar development – to get back what it can.

Finishing stage one makes it “much less difficult” to find a new bank to put up first-mortgage money on stages two and three, Lee reckons.

“I don’t think it will be easy but it would be impossible [otherwise].”

If stages two and three attract new money, Hanover and sister company United Finance are “much more likely” to get back the $50-$70 million they have tied up in Kawarau Falls.

Hanover and United owe mum and dad investors hundreds of millions of dollars and are operating under moratoria – repayment freezes.

“If stages two and three aren’t completed within the next two to three years, you would have to assume that would be a disaster for Hanover and United,” Lee says.

But investors in the two Kiwi finance firms shouldn’t “start buying the champagne” yet.

Lee adds Hanover and United management have great faith in Kawarau Falls developer Nigel McKenna.

“They believe [McKenna] put every button on every shirt he’s got into this deal – and that the deal wasn’t in default and was progressing within budget, both in terms of money and time.

“[Hanover and United] would be fairly bitter, I’d imagine, that BOS took the action it did.”