Assets are sold as work continues to bring a claim
The administrators of Plymouth property firm London & Westcountry Estates have sold 18 of its 26 business parks and are now preparing a report for creditors.
When Ernst & Young were brought in as administrators in March 2012 they said they wanted to have completed the sale of assets by the end of last month.
They opted to sell off the firm's business park empire piecemeal in a bid to realise the maximum value for creditors.
Eighteen have been sold, including Brent Mill, at South Brent, Sugar Mill, in Plymouth, and Taw Mill, near Barnstaple. The remaining eight, including Faraday Mill and Christian Mill, in Plymouth, remain on the market.
London & Westcountry, which was set up by Mike and Diane Hockin in 1983, went into administration after its creditors called in a £57 million loan.
London & Westcountry took out the loan in 2008 to finance the acquisition of business parks. Mr Hockin alleges that RBS gave them 24 hours to sign the agreement and that he was given the impression it had a three-year break clause that would allow either party to exit the agreement.
But he claims that when his company tried to terminate the loan after three years, they were told that only RBS could activate the break clause and that it would cost his business £11 million to exit.
Mr Hockin is now pursuing legal action against the bank and has been filmed for an episode of Panorama, due to be shown on October 14, which investigates interest rate swap loans.
"At the end of the day it's just a disgrace and an outrage. I have never defaulted and never been late with anything and yet my creditworthiness has gone out of the window," he said.
The businessman has engaged Manchester-based Berg Solicitors to act on his behalf to bring a claim against the bank. The first stage of this involves obtaining "an assignment of action". Essentially, at the moment, the right to bring a claim against the bank rests with the administrators because they represent the business.
Berg's managing partner Alison Loveday said that she had approached the administrators to request assignment of the claim to the Hockins, with the possibility of legal action through a division of the High Court if this approach is not successful.
She urged businesses who believe they have been affected by a mis-sold swap loan to make a claim, rather than relying on a complaint to the Financial Conduct Authority which she said had only made 10 settlements from 30,000 complaints.
"People need to have another route available. There is a six-year statute of limitations so if people complain and then they are not happy, they could find it's too late to make a claim," she said. "A lot of people complained to their bank 18 months to two years ago and they think that's enough but it won't be."