Blue Sky appoints third CFO in seven months

Written on the 17 May 2019 by Business News Australia

Blue Sky appoints third CFO in seven months

Embattled investment group Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX: BLA) is attempting to right the ship with its third CFO in seven months. 

Justine Henwood has been appointed as the new chief financial officer just months after the sudden resignation of her predecessor Elizabeth Walker.

Walker resigned for personal reasons just two months after she was appointed as CFO, following a significant first-half loss report.

Walker was herself appointed after the resignation of Matthew Whyte in October 2018 after six years in the role.

Inheriting the role of CFO is Henwood, a chartered accountant and experienced CFO with 26 years of experience in Australia and overseas.

Her resume boasts CFO positions at Crown Melbourne and Racing Queensland. She has also held senior executive roles at NagaCorp and Jupiters.

Henwood will commence as CFO on Monday, 20 May and will report directly to fresh CEO Joel Cann.

"Justine's appointment now completes the company's leadership team," says Cann.

"Her financial capabilities, broad industry experience and executive leadership skills will complement the existing executive management team as it continues to execute the restructure strategy for the business."

The company is currently in the midst of potentially renegotiating the terms of a $50 million loan from US-based Oaktree Capital.

Blue Sky confirmed in early May that it would be unable to meet the minimum recurring cash earnings covenant of the loan agreement, leaving the Brisbane-based investment group open to Oaktree potentially accelerating the loan and calling for early repayment.

The loan agreement was entered into in September 2018, meaning the majority of the current board of the company was not even employed by Blue Sky at the time.

As a result of Blue Sky's woes its Alternative's Access Fund, itself a separate listed entity on the ASX, has announced that it will cut itself off from the mothership.

Blue Sky Alternative Access Fund (ASX: BAF) may even terminate Blue Sky's management services agreement, and it is also assessing options including an "orderly wind-down of BAF and return of capital to shareholders".

Blue Sky was under siege during 2018 following a bout of bad news stemming from a short-selling report by Glaucus detailing a number of alleged holes in the business of Blue Sky.

Blue Sky launches $700 million sale of student housing arm

As reported by the Australian Financial Review, Blue Sky and Goldman Sachs have put their portfolio of student housing up for sale.

JLL has been hired by the pair to find a buyer for student housing joint venture Atira.

The joint venture was established in 2016 and now has more than 5000 beds in facilities in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane.

The portfolio of properties is expected to be worth approximately $700 million.

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