David Ross considers dismantling debt-laden property firm Kandahar

Marion Dakers
THE CO-FOUNDER of Carphone Warehouse is set to break up his property empire and dispose of debt-laden assets, according to reports yesterday.

David Ross has hired property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle and Cushman &Wakefield to advise on the options for his Kandahar Group retail property company, reported the Sunday Telegraph. Neither company could confirm the claims yesterday.

There are several parties interested in puchasing the entire company, according to the reports, but Ross has begun to plan for a £230m sale of the Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth in case a bidder cannot be found.

Ross has been using his own money to meet interest payments and keep Kandahar afloat since the firm breached banking covenants in December 2009.

Kandahar was set up as a £500m joint venture with Morgan Stanley, but was badly hit by tumbling property values during the financial crisis.

Ross was caught up in an FSA investigation after he inadvertently broke shareholder disclosure rules through Kandahar in 2008. He used his 20 per cent stake in Carphone Warehouse as security for Kandahar’s refinancing, but did not tell the boards of the companies.

He stepped down from a series of high-profile roles at Carphone Warehouse, National Express and the London Olympic Games in the wake of the news, and prompted the FSA to declare an amnesty for the scores of other directors who had also pledged shares to back personal loans.

Kandahar was unavailable for comment yesterday, while the on-duty manager at Drake Circus declined to comment.