By Ian Neubauer

The Hedley Leisure and Gaming Property Fund (HLG) has warned of possible legal action against The Australian newspaper following a report that allegedly contained a number of errors that were “negative and damaging” to the fund.

Reports on HLG and its financially troubled tenant, National Leisure and Gaming (NLG), plastered the press late last week after the shares of both companies nosedived by close to 28 per cent on Wednesday. The Australian’s report, published on Friday, claimed the future of both companies was in jeopardy following demands by bank creditors for a revaluation of HLG’s $1.25 billion pub portfolio. 

“Contrary to a statement in an article in The Australian newspaper on 7 March, 2008, HLG has received no advice from either its bankers or ASIC that the current valuation of HLG’s Pub Portfolio is being questioned or considered,” HLG chairman, Colin Henson, said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

In the statement, Henson also identified another eight instances within the article he said misreports the facts.

These include a claim that bank lenders fear losses of at least $600 million in relation to HLG and NLG; a claim that HLG has a 20 per cent stake in NLG; the alleged misreporting of the value of HLG’s net debt and combined exposure to bank lenders; and a claim that ANZ owns the National Bank of New Zealand, which is a lender to NLG.    

“In view of the number of errors, negative and damaging to HLG, that were contained in the article, HLG reserves its position in relation to any action that may be appropriate,” Henson said.

TheShout contacted The Australian deputy editor-in-chief — business, Michael Stutchbury, who refused comment on the matter.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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