Director of failed firm in flotation

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The Independent Online
RICHARD BREEN, the man behind Artesian Estates - a company that plans to float on the Stock Exchange in two weeks - was a director of Broadwell Land, which collapsed with debts of pounds 58m, writes Dominic Prince.

Broadwell went into receivership in 1990 after a syndicate of nine banks, led by Lloyds, withdrew their support.

Artesian, which Mr Breen and his fellow directors started in 1989, plans a pounds 13.5m flotation on 18 October. It has properties mainly in London and the South-east. Originally a business expansion scheme start-up, with more than 2,100 shareholders, it operated as a residential landlord, specialising in assured short-hold tenancies.

In total, Artesian has 10 companies under its umbrella, now worth some pounds 43m, but at this stage Mr Breen and his fellow directors plan to float only three of them.

Asked about his involvement with Broadwell and its receivership, he said: 'We have never since been involved in the affairs of Broadwell, because we resigned a day before the receivership.' Mr Breen and a brother, Mark, resigned from Broadwell at the same time.

Lloyds was the main creditor bank of a syndicate owed pounds 10m. Other members were British & Commonwealth Merchant Bank and Hill Samuel. Broadwell's main banker was Credit Agricole, which was owed pounds 23m.

Mr Breen's connection with Broadwell will be mentioned in the flotation offer document - on page 67. He said yesterday: 'This is the first significant BES property company to float. Please be kind.'