'Lexi Holdings' plc was a United Kingdom based finance company, established in 2000 that went into Administration in 2006. At its height it was one of the largest and fastest growing independent short-term finance companies in the UK. It entered Administration after a failure to reach terms on a new facility with its Bank Barclays and its Corporate Banking Director, Dale Sellers. Sellers has since been involved in a scandal involving the withholding of information from the regulator the Financial Services Authority in respect of miss-selling banking products.
The Company was formed by Shaid Luqman a former finance student at the University of Manchester. He bought his first house during his studies, striking a deal with the university's accommodation agency. This enabled him to approach banks re financing, and by the time of his graduation in 1991 owned a portfolio of 24 flats and houses, which he rented out to fellow students.
In 2000 Luqman secured a loan of £2.5m from Barclays Bank to form Pearl Holdings. The company provided bridging loan-finance to high-net-worth individuals to build property portfolios, focusing mainly on projects which converted offices and hotels into flats. Providing agreed finance against a surveyor-agreed valuation of the final project, the company would lend within 24 hours. The loan would remain in place until project financing could be provided by a long-term lender.
Renamed Lexi Holdings plc in 2003, clients included MP's and footballers. The firm grew so well and quickly - in 2003 it was reported to be making profits of £21.4m on a turnover of £36m - that in 2004 Luqman was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young.
At its peak, the company was worth £300M and owned a Gulfstream IV business jet, while Luqman had a personal estimated wealth of £250m personal wealth, placing him 238th on the Sunday Times Rich List. In an interview in 2005, Luqman commented: "Overall, we are a billion-pound company. In 10 or 20 years, I want us to be as big as a high street bank."
If clients defaulted on loans with Barclays Bank’s assistance developments would be placed in separate holding companies. The company at the time of administration owned 47 acres of prime residential development land at Ten Acres Lane Newton Heath Manchester worth an estimated £ 50m, the site of the former Mansfield Brewery in Nottingham worth an estimated £ 18.5m, a retail park in Leeds worth over £ 20m a development site near Huddersfield worth in excess of £ 15m, two hotels in the Lake District and a prominent development site in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. Many of these projects were partnered by were designed by prominent English architect Stephen Hodder MBE, who won the RIBA’s Stirling Prize in 1996 and is the current President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, as were Lexi partnered projects in Saudi Arabia and a £ 3.5b consortia leading a retail development in Cricklewood, London.
After protracted negotiations between Lexi and Barclays and the failure to reach a settlement with its bankers Administrators were appointed on 5 October 2006. Brian Green and Richard Fleming of KPMG were appointed over Lexi and associated company Ten Acre Limited.
Green and Fleming and jointly been involved in a number of high profile pre-pack administrations including JJB Sports [KPMG administrators to arrange pre-pack sale; Accountancy Age 24 September 2012] and Blacks Leisure. In a ‘pre-pack’ as opposed to a normal sale the business is not marketed and prices have been negotiated prior to appointment. The speed and secrecy of the transaction often leads to a deal being executed about which the unsecured creditors know nothing and offers them little or no return.
At the time of the Lexi administration its assets were in excess of £ 180m and had liabilities of £85 with an additional asset in the form of Ten Acre Limited valued then at £ 50m provided to Barclays.
KPMG’s Green and Fleming have recently obtained planning for 500 houses as well as commercial developments at this site with an end value of in excess on GBP 200m. There was therefore no loss sustained by any Lexi creditors, instead there will be a surplus of in excess of GBP 100m;.
It emerged in the Administrators latest Report to Creditors submitted to Companies House dated 23 October 2014 that the fees charged by the Administrators and their associates had approached £ 40m and Green and Fleming continue to bill the equivalent of £57,000 per week for the average working week.
Shaid Luqman has since relocated to Saudi Arabia where he is one of Jedda’s largest property developers.
- [ ‘Barclays apologies to FSA after imposing swaps secrecy clause on customers’ ; Richard Tyler,The Telegraph 17 March 2012 ]
- KPMG sells Blacks to JD Sports via pre-pack administration; www.kpmg.com 9 January 2012
- Former Jacksons Brickworks Site – Off Ten Acres Lane; www.manchester.gov.uk, 16 October 2012