Beleaguered social housing investor Home REIT said it will soon begin a full clearout of its board as it scrambles to stabilise its sprawling property portfolio and restore its rental income.
In the first of its monthly updates under new investment adviser AEW, scandal-hit Home REIT said it had also appointed property firm Jones Lang LaSalle to conduct a fresh valuation of its portfolio after being forced to dramatically write down and offload a swathe of properties in recent weeks.
Investors in the former FTSE 250 firm have been calling for a clear-out of the board since last year after a report from short-seller Viceroy Research blew the whistle on its shaky rental structure and triggered a series of scandals.
Shares in the firm have been suspended since January and the publication of its full year accounts has now been delayed for around 10 months.
In a statement today, Home REIT said the board would likely be completely changed in the next year and before its shares began trading again on the London Stock Exchange.
“Following the appointment of AEW and the commencement of the stabilisation period, as well as consultation with major shareholders, the Board has initiated a formal and phased succession process,” Home REIT said in a statement.
An individual with “significant listed company expertise” is being weighed up for the role of Senior Independent Director and is “expected to join the board in the coming weeks” to lead the succession process, the firm said.
“It is expected that the majority of the current Board will have departed at or around the point of restoration of trading in the Company’s shares, and that the Board will transition entirely within 12 months, allowing a period of handover,” Home REIT added.
AEW has been looking to offload properties from the firm and recently pushed through a change in its investment policy that ditched its focus on social housing.
The firm recently sold 40 properties at a cut price of £4.8m and said today that “further sales are expected in the near term”. Home REIT revealed earlier this year that its portfolio would require some £15-20m to refurbish in full.
Its delayed accounts are unlikely to be published until late 2023 at the earliest, Home REIT added.