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AWF founder Hull sells $7.25M stake at 7.9% discount to boost liquidity

Friday 31st May 2013

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AWF Group managing director Simon Hull and his family interests have sold down their stake in the contract labour firm at a 7.9 percent discount in a bid to boost liquidity in the stock and attract institutional investors.

Hull sold 2.5 million shares at $2.90 apiece, for some $7.25 million, in off-market transactions placed by Craigs Investment Partners, the company said in a statement. The buyers will also be entitled to a 12.2 cents per share dividend if they are still on the register on June 21, with the payment on June 28.

The shares were unchanged at $3.15 today, having climbed 31 percent this year. The sale accounts for about 10 percent of the company's shares, and leaves Hull and his family with about 58 percent control, worth $47.25 million at today's price.

"The primary motivation for the transaction is to seek to create greater liquidity and greater institutional interest in the company's shares," Hull said.

As part of the deal with Craigs, Hull has agreed not to sell any more shares for 90 days from June 6 unless agreed with the brokerage.

AWF more than doubled annual profit to $6.9 million after selling its Panacea Healthcare unit, and is returning most of that capital back in a special dividend.

The company is New Zealand's largest provider of temporary staff, placing an average 3,000 people a day into jobs via a network of 34 branches.

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