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Pyne Gould focuses on rescue efforts

Wednesday 23rd February 2011

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Pyne Gould Corp chairman Bruce Irvine said the entire focus of his organisation was on the people trapped in the company's office building, which collapsed during the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch yesterday.

"I spent most of the night down at the building. There were obviously scenes of absolute joy when certain people came out and were greeted by their relatives and absolute despair for those who are still waiting," he said on Radio New Zealand.

The damaged building, Pyne Gould Corp House, is at 233 Cambridge Terrace, which is adjacent to the Avon River, which flows through the city.

Irvine said there were a large number of Perpetual Trust workers in the office building, which was essentially the head quarters of the trustee business. There were also workers from Marac and Pyne Gould Corp.

"The main focus at the moment is on the Perpetual Trust people and the Marac people who are still in the building. There are no Pyne Gould Corp people in the building," he said.

The company believed there were still 13 Perpetual Trust people and four Marac people in the building.

There were also other tenants in the building and between two and three people were still unaccounted for from them.

The building was built in the 1960s and was a former Drainage Board building. It sustained virtually no damage in the September 4 earthquake and was considered to be a solid building. It was refurbished eight to nine years ago and this included earthquake reinforcing.

He said the entire focus on his organisation was on the people still trapped in the building and the people who came out and their families.

Irvine was attending a PGG Wrightson Ltd board meeting in suburban Hornby when the earthquake occurred.

He was appointed to the Pyne Gould Corp board in 2003 and became chairman in 2009. He said the company would recover.

Pyne Gould Corp is a historic Canterbury company which traces its history back to a stock and station business in the 1850s. The company has since diversified and owns Perpetual Trust, Perpetual Asset Management and a stake in Building Society Holdings, which includes PGC's finance company Marac. Pyne Gould Corp's remaining rural services business owns a stake in PGG Wrightson Ltd, which is separately listed on NZX.



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