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Turners Auctions looks at setting up finance arm

By Duncan Bridgeman

Friday 1st August 2003

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Turners Auctions is looking at establishing a finance arm, raising the possibility of an additional share issue.

The company, which listed on the Stock Exchange last October, refers its car buying customers to finance companies for loans but said yesterday it was investigating the possibility of introducing its own facility.

"We are reviewing how we do that but it is very early days yet," managing director Jeff Wesley told The National Business Review.

Turners Auctions was split off from produce marketer Turners & Growers in April last year.

It has been a top small cap performer since floating, with a 53% rise in profit for the first six months to December.

In May Sir Ron Brierley's investment vehicle Guinness Peat Group halved its stake in Turners to 19.99%, leaving Bartel Holdings as the largest shareholder.

GPG placed nearly five million shares at $2.85 a share through broker JB Were, which at today's price would seem a cheap deal.

At press time Turners shares had last traded at $3.37, compared with their listing price of $2.32 and issue price of $1.50.

In May GPG said it intended to hold its residual stake as a cornerstone strategic holding.

Mr Wesley would not comment further on the company's finance plans or be drawn on whether it was looking at a further share issue.

In an NZX listing case study issued this week Turners said it had eliminated its debt and was now "in a good position to have a further issue" which would provide more flexibility to consider expansion opportunities.

The company is building a new super site in Christchurch and a facility on Auckland's North Shore.

It recently opened a new site in Tauranga.

Last year the company sold a record 77,000 motorcars and continued strong sales of commercial and industrial products.

Turners also recently announced it was setting up a joint-venture company in Canada with an expatriate Kiwi, Alan McKenzie, who has been in business in Canada for some time.

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