A company called EcoPlanet Bamboo (UK) Ltd launched a “bamboo bond” in 2011. Investors were encouraged to hand over their money, which would be used to establish bamboo plantation in Nicaragua.
Camille Rebelo, one of the co-founders of EcoPlanet Bamboo, claimed that an investment of US$50,000 would see a return of 500% over 15 years. “It’s a guaranteed return to the investor”, she said.
She made these comments on a programme about EcoPlanet Bamboo broadcast on Radio 4 in April 2012.
Unfortunately, there was no guarantee. While Troy Wiseman, co-founder and CEO of EcoPlanet Bamboo, says he’s made money “every year” from EcoPlanet Bamboo, investors in the bonds are wondering where their money went and whether they’ll ever see any of it again.
EcoPlanet Bamboo created a complex corporate structure, with several companies registered in the Isle of Man and the state of Delaware in the USA. One obvious question comes to mind about EcoPlanet Bamboo:
If this was such a good investment, why didn’t EcoPlanet Bamboo simply go to a bank and arrange a loan to raise the money to invest in its proposed bamboo plantations?
Here are the latest two letters from The Premier Group (Isle of Man) Limited, the company managing the fund and various sub-funds behind EcoPlanet Bamboo:
4th November 2016
The Eco Resources Fund PCC plc (the ‘Fund’)
Further to my letter dated 14th October I am writing to update you with the current position of the Fund.
Over the last few weeks I have spoken to a number of you, discussing the lack of liquidity affecting the Fund and the urgent need for further investment in order to continue. Although several of you gave serious consideration to committing additional money, regrettably no firm commitments were forthcoming. As a result, the Fund board has been left with no option other than to commence the process to put the Fund into liquidation.
You will receive formal notices about the liquidation process next week and a date will be set, most likely in early December, for the meeting to put the Fund into liquidation.
Throughout the recent past, the Board has been in regular contact with the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Authority (“FSA”). Today we were informed by the FSA that they have made an application to the High Court in the Isle of Man for the appointment of an inspector to fully investigate the background and events leading to the current situation. The Board welcomes the appointment of the inspector and will be cooperating fully with him with regard to the investigation.
At the moment, there is a possibility that ERF Limited (“ERF” – the Fund’s 100% owned subsidiary) can be kept open and outside the liquidation process. ERF owns the interests in the underlying plantation companies via its subsidiary Eco Bamboo (Isle of Man) Limited. However, the future of ERF and its ability to progress the plantations is entirely reliant upon new funding from new investment. We would therefore like to invite anyone who is interested in considering supporting ERF to come forward and contact us (Tel: +44 1624 699677) so that confidential discussions may be had. This option will only be taken forward if sufficient capital can be raised.
The Board very much regret this outcome for the Fund’s investors and other stakeholders. However, despite concerted effort for a considerable period of time, it has not been possible to resolve the liquidity situation and secure a future for the Fund.
14th October 2016
The Eco Resources Fund PCC plc (the ‘Fund’)
Further to my letter dated 5th October I am writing to further update you with the current position of the Fund.
Whilst the previously mentioned lending facility is still being pursued, it is proving to be very difficult to secure and it is nowhere near concluded at this time.
The risk to the Fund is that this lending facility will not conclude or that it will not conclude in a timescale that is satisfactory for the Fund.
The Directors are now exploring options to raise new capital from shareholders having been contacted by certain investors in the Fund in relation to the last letter.
Discussions have recently been held with the prospective investors concerned and they are considering additional investment to secure the future of the Fund. As a minimum, $500,000 in cash has to be secured by the end of the month.
In the meantime, the Directors wish to draw this development to the attention of all shareholders and to request that any investor who may be interested in making a further investment in the Fund to secure its future should now come forward.
All approaches will be treated in confidence.
Every effort will be made to obtain new loan financing by 31 st October 2016. In addition, further discussions about new investment capital will be held with all investors who express an interest in that timescale.
However, should loan negotiations not be successful or should new investment not be committed then a board meeting has been set for 1 st November 2016. If nothing changes from the current situation, it is therefore likely the Directors will seek approval from the Management Shareholder to wind-up the Fund and appoint a liquidator.
I will write in early November to advise what course of action has been taken.