GIS Forestry Bonds.
A few years ago GIS Forestry Ltd sold fixed-term bonds to investors. The bonds paid 10% interest. Now that the bonds are falling due for repayment the company is defaulting on the repayment of both capital and interest. Here is a link to their website.
We have been trying for some time to recover our client’s money, but have been getting responses from the company which call into question their honesty. We think Guy Conroy, the CEO, is not telling the truth. Mr Conroy claims that he called a bondholder meeting by Zoom which was held on 18th September 2020. He claims there was a vote by show of hands which agreed that capital repayments could be deferred for 12 months. He claims that our client will have received notification of that because he sent a letter out on 1st September 2020 advising investors of the meeting. Our client did not receive that letter.
When asked to produce copies of the correspondence in January of this year he sent through the letter of 1st September 2020 and also a second letter dated 21st September 2020 which he claims notified bondholders of the outcome of the meeting. Our client did not receive that letter either. One has to wonder why GIS Forestry did not email their clients and attach those letters. They email their clients all the time. We think they didn’t email their clients because these letters weren’t written in September 2020. We believe they were written in January 2021 when we asked to see them.
Why do we think that ? One reason is that the letter allegedly sent out on 1st September 2020 did not lay out the motions that investors would be asked to vote on. Also, it did not include a proxy voting form which would have allowed bondholders to send in their votes by post. Also, and quite bizarrely, it did not give details of how to join the Zoom meeting. The letter said that bondholders should respond to the letter and then they would be given details of the meeting. Now, let’s assume that there never was a Zoom meeting. How would you cover that up ? Well, you definitely can’t put the Zoom meeting details into the letter of 1st September 2020 because we would be able to check the link to see if the meeting was ever held. Mr Conroy has been asked several times to provide the link but has not done so.
Then we looked at the letter which GIS Forestry claims was written on 21st September 2020. It says that the motion was carried to defer the repayment of capital for one year because “more than 75% of bondholders have accepted the proposal”.
Our client wrote to Mr Conroy to ask why he did not receive either of those letters in the post and why they weren’t also emailed out to him. He also asked him to provide further details of the Zoom meeting including the link and details of attendance etc. Mr Conroy responded to say that there were 27 responses to his letter of 1st September and that 16 people attended the Zoom meeting. He still did not provide the link details. He said that after the meeting they communicated the outcome only to those that responded to the letter. That is very hard to believe. An alleged meeting is held at which it is claimed that 16 bondholders voted to defer repayment of capital and the company decides NOT to inform all of its bondholders about that ! That just doesn’t ring true. We have asked to see the recording of the meeting because for something as important as this the company would have recorded it. We still haven’t been given the original meeting link or the recording.
We have now pointed out to Mr Conroy that Clause 10 in the Loan Note Instrument requires 75% of ALL bondholders to agree, not 75% of those attending. We do not know how many bondholders there are, but according to Mr Conroy there are at least 27. A vote by 16 is not even 75% of those who responded to the letter. Therefore, the motion is invalid and our client is still demanding to be repaid.
Our client is particularly unhappy about this attempt to delay payment because page 22 of the sales brochure contained a list of FAQs. One of those was: Question – Can the terms of the bond be amended ? Answer – No. Our client bought a 3-year bond and that time is up.
The other thing that gives us a lot of concern about this bond is the involvement of Graham Arnott. Mr Arnott’s companies are involved in many scams. In the GIS Forestry bonds investment Mr Arnott’s companies have four roles. His companies are the accountants for GIS, the escrow account holder for the funds, the bond registrar and finally, the Insecurity Trustee. Most bonds like to refer to this role as Security Trustee, but there’s never any security. We can guarantee that when Jade State Wealth is listed as the Security Trustee bondholders will have no security.
What is the alleged role of a Security Trustee ? It is supposed to hold charges over assets to protect the capital of investors. It sounds really good on paper, but its true role is to provide an obstacle to prevent investors from taking action against the company. If an investor has an issue and takes it to the Insecurity Trustee they are told that the Trustee needs 75% of investors to agree before it can do anything. When the investor asks to be put in contact with other investors they are told that the Trustee can’t do that for confidentiality reasons. When Graham Arnott’s companies are earning fees from holding four different roles it is very clear whose side he is on.
Our client would like other GIS Forestry bond investors to join him in taking action against the company. If you are a bondholder please make contract.
GIS Forestry Bonds.