TENSIONS arising from perceived conflicts of interest have prompted Cromwell Property Group’s largest shareholder, David Blight, to step down from the company’s board.
Blight is also chief executive officer of the local arm of Singaporean group ARA Asset Management, and had been frozen out of Cromwell’s recent $375 million institutional placement after its lawyers considered ARA a related party, while Cromwell have reportedly competed for the same real estate assets.
Nine Media reported they included Brisbane office buildings at 133 Mary St and 400 George St. ARA picked up the Mary St tower for $96.5 million in April, while Cromwell is in due diligence with Blackstone and HSBC Trinkaus to buy their George St asset.
A short statement from Cromwell to the ASX on Friday announced Blight’s departure, effective immediately. He had joined the board shortly after ARA picked up a major stake – which was around 20.6% ahead of the placement – from Redefine Property Group.
ARA was hoping to secure about $80 million of stock in the Cromwell placement, according to Nine Media, but advice from legal eagles meant its holding fell below 20%.