The Japanese government-backed NCP angered parking lot owners with sweeping restructuring plans that will be put to a vote on Thursday.
Many landlords are facing steep rent cuts as part of the plan. Some have opened discussions with other operators, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
Park24, the Japanese firm that bought NCP from Australia’s Macquarie bank for £ 450million four years ago, says the cuts are a ‘last resort’ to protect the company, which spans 500 locations and employs 1,000 people. The owners of NCP have warned that they will withdraw their financial support for the company if the restructuring deal is not reached.
The threat infuriated owners after Park24 pledged to support the operator for at least 12 months in December 2020. The pledge was contained in accounts filed with Companies House in January.
A group of homeowners led by Aberdeen Standard opposes the rent reduction plans. The rebels include Legal & General, Knight Frank Asset Management, Grosvenor Estate and Hammerson as well as local councils and Network Rail. Hogan Lovell and AlixPartners advise.
Some members of the opposition group will avoid the rent cuts, but city sources have said they plan to vote against the deal anyway for fear it will set a dangerous precedent for future talks with people. other companies in financial difficulty because of Covid.
At a hearing late last month, two owners tried to defeat the restructuring deal by filing competing bids to buy the NCP. Aberdeen World Group and affiliate ESG Impact said the NCP acquisition offer would provide better results for owners, it was claimed.
Meanwhile, it emerged last week that NCP had struck a side deal with its largest owner Global Mutual, which manages properties on behalf of hedge fund Davidson Kempner. The deal means Global Mutual will not be able to vote in Thursday’s poll.
The vote must be supported by 75% of creditors. Deloitte, which advises NCP, has made plans for a pre-pack administration or a piecemeal sale, if the operator cannot get enough support.
A spokesperson for NCP said: “The board remains focused on achieving the best possible outcome for the company, creditors and other stakeholders through the restructuring plan. We urge all homeowners to vote in favor of the plan, which we strongly believe will result in a higher return for each class of creditors than in the reasonable alternative, insolvency. ”