Antiguan assets give Vantis a lifeline

Is there a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel for Vantis?

Recent months have seen the firm struggle in its role in managing the
liquidation process of Stanford International Bank – namely to access funds for
creditors and to keep its own cashflow ticking along.

But noises from the firm suggest that it might be closing in on selling off
real estate assets based in Antigua, which could provide creditors with
repayment, and the firm with much-needed funds.

The situation has been so serious that its auditor Ernst & Young issued a
going concern warning against Vantis in its February interims.

“The group is confident that outstanding time costs will be recovered in due
course but the various legal actions mean that timing is uncertain,” Vantis said
meekly in its statement to the stock exchange at the time.

Throw in a profit warning at the end of March from lower than expected
activity in its business recovery division plus exceptional costs, and good news
has been thin on the ground for Vantis.

Nigel Hamilton-Smith, of Vantis and joint liquidator of SIB, has confirmed
the existence of between $500m (£325m) and $700m of assets. And in a statement
to Accountancy Age, he said progress was being made in respect of real estate in
Antigua, “which forms an important part of the overall funds available” for

“Vantis’ fees will be met when sufficient asset realisations have occurred,”
he added.

Agreement between the joint liquidators and the US receiver will be completed
in the near future, subject to approval of the Antiguan and US courts, which
should result in further progress in dealing with the other aspects of the SIB

Hamilton-Smith and Vantis will hope that no other nasty surprises come along
to bring back the gloom.

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