Charles Fairhurst

As a residential investment researcher I am not often flummoxed, but when the news came out that Transport for London or ‘TFL’ chose Apartments for London Limited (AFL) to develop land owned by TFL for affordable housing, I was just that. Why would TFL choose AFL? We know that TFL is desperate to sell off land to help reduce its £1bn in debt. But how come that AFL ended-up being the preferred partner?

At Property Overview the resi experts stuck our heads together to look at who AFL is. AFL does not exactly have a long track record or a solid residential reputation. AFL has yet to produce its first accounts but appears to have only £100 in capital. Its Non-Executive Directors’s are both Labour and Conservative party “older states people” plus two owners of Mark Warner, the travel company.

AFL’s CEO Johnny Goldsmith might have a 22-year track record in Foreign Exchange trading, but we fail to see its relevance for building affordable homes.

Is it just me to find it even odder is that one the major shareholders appears to be a Chinese resident who, according to the all-knowing Google, is connected to various offshore tax havens?

Goldsmith Capital Partners Limited (the other large AFL shareholder) has a stunning £96 in capital, has yet to produce accounts, its CEO is AFL’s CEO and Goldsmith Capital Partners is also partly owned by the two Mark Warner directors.

The plot thickens. Reader, what is your take on this? Comments welcome!

The author Charles Fairhurst is one of the residential letting, management and investment experts with extensive PRS fund management experience, and is a trainer and consultant.

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