Donington Hall is for sale – TVS didn’t get any real estate for its £16M

It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on Stuart Garner and the Norton story. This week we’re looking at the details of the proposed sale of real estate including the home of Norton Motorcycles – Donington Hall, the production facility – Hastings House, the Priest House and various other plots.

Call me an absolute lunatic if you like, but when TVS motors paid £16m for Norton, I assumed they were getting some bricks and mortar for their money. I was wrong.

The details of the sale are being managed by estate agents on behalf of BDO, the administration company that were called in to Norton in January this year. 

Current CEO of Norton, John Russell, confirmed with me that they only took a short term lease on the buildings they’re currently occupying, with a view to expanding and settling somewhere else further down the line. That makes complete sense when you consider the scale of production that’s possible in the current location and how it doesn’t match what kind of output will be required for TVS to see a return on its (sizeable) investment.

That begs a few questions. What did £16m actually buy TVS? If it wasn’t the real estate and it wasn’t the engine rights to the Commando, that leaves the potential in the Atlas and V4 platforms, the Norton name itself and a few other odds and literal sods.

Is it possible that the £16m paid for Norton will cover the bills with creditors at Metro Bank, Steve Murray and everyone else Norton owed money to? Then the money from the sale of all this real estate could be used to pay back the £14m in pensions investments that Stuart Garner was recently ordered to repay?

If we look back to this part of the story, we can see that the amount of money owed aside from the pensions investments totalled £14,352,089. If we assume that the £16m that TVS paid for Norton will be used to pay that off, for the sake of simplicity we can see that there’ll be £1,647,911 left in the pot. 

If we then assume that all of the properties offered for sale here sell for the minimum asking prices listed:

The Priest House Hotel – Offers in excess of £3,500,000.

Kings Mills Caravan Park – Offers in excess of £350,000.

Grange Lea House – Offers in excess of £625,000.

Donington Hall, Hastings House & The Lansdowne Buildings – £8,575,000

We have a total of £13,050,000. If we add the £1.64m left over to the total sales of the properties listed, we get £14,697,911. The total amount that Stuart Garner was ordered to repay by the pensions ombudsman last week was approximately £14m, plus £180k for exceptional maladministration causing injustice.

If we squint, we can see Stuart Garner being in a position where everyone that’s owed money is repaid, possibly even leaving a few quid left over for Stuart. Wouldn’t that be nice.

As an update, we’ll be publishing a piece on the investment opportunity that Norton pitched in their hunt to float Norton on the stock exchange, plus the crowd sourced funding attempt via Crowd Cube. That should lead nicely into the first episode of the SuperBike Podcast, where my first guest will be the foreign investor who in Q4 of 2019, was ready to commit more than a million pounds to Stuart Garner and Norton. Take the time to sign up to our newsletter if you can, it’s much appreciated.

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More in the Norton motorcycles series

John Russell becomes interim CEO of Norton Motorycles

TVS prepares to buy Norton

Norton creditors report – how much money is owed?

Norton – What happened today?

The Norton Motorcycles case – was it fraud from the start? (Part 2)

The Norton Motorcycles case – was it fraud from the start? (Part 1)