RAPTIS READY TO ROLL AS $29M TAX BILL CUT TO JUST $6

RAPTIS READY TO ROLL AS $29M TAX BILL CUT TO JUST $6

RAPTIS Group (ASX:RPG) has managed to whittle down a $29.3 million tax bill to just $6, and now it says it is ready to resume its property development activities after more than six years in the corporate wilderness.

The once prolific developer of high rise apartments on the Gold Coast has revealed its survival is dependent on the financial support of major shareholders who are backing a plan to raise $1 million for the company to resume its business activity.

The company, headed by Jim Raptis, also reveals it has identified a development project to kick off its revival, although it does not reveal any details.

Raptis Group has been operating under a deed of company arrangement (DOCA) administered by Brian Silvia and Andrew Cummins, of BRI Ferrier, since early 2009.

The company had been one of the first high-profile Gold Coast victims of the global financial crisis in 2008 after a string of projects and assets it controlled, including Southport Central, were placed into receivership under the weight of about $1 billion in group debt.

Under the planned resurrection of the company, creditors have been promised 40 million shares as part of a debt for equity swap agreed to in the DOCA.

The shares have been held in trust pending the outcome of legal action with the Australian Taxation Office which had claimed it was owed $29.3 million in unpaid tax stemming from one of Raptis Group's projects, Chevron Renaissance, more than a decade ago.

"This claim was contested through due legal process requiring significant commitment in management, time and financial resources," says company chairman Jim Raptis in a statement to the ASX. "We appreciate the patience and support of stakeholders in this difficult process."

Raptis was not immediately available for further comment.

However, the company says it intends to proceed with plans to resume trading on the ASX after a six-year suspension. Raptis says major shareholders have arranged to underwrite a rights issue to raise $1 million for working capital to pursue development of the project it has identified.

Raptis, writing in the half-year earnings report released today, says the company's future as a going concern depends on its ability to raise the funds from those major shareholders.

He says the shareholders have "indicated their intention to continue to arrange resources to meet the needs of the company".

"This includes funding costs up to resumption of trading and underwriting a capital raising to allow the company to relaunch as a going concern in its own right. Should the funding not be obtained, the company will not be able to continue as a going concern."

Meanwhile, Raptis Group has revealed it has a potential income tax benefit from carry-forward losses of $46.8 million. However, the exact benefit not been quantified with the company saying that issues surrounding security positions could substantially reduce this interim calculation.

Needless to say, Raptis Group reported nil income and nil expenses during the December half year.

Picture: Jim Raptis (right) with former Premier Peter Beattie

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