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Pyne Gould fined $300k by NZX for late reporting, governance breaches

Friday 28th October 2016

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Pyne Gould Corp, the investment group that plans to target 'distressed assets', has been fined $300,000 by the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal for repeated late filings of annual and interim financial information.

The company missed the deadline for filing its annual results for the third year running in 2016, filing them on Aug. 30 after the NZX warned its shares would be suspended if it failed to deliver the report by Sept. 5.

The shares were suspended from Oct.8, 2015, until June the following year, after that year's annual earnings were delayed. Pyne Gould first signalled the 2015 accounts would be late in September that year, blaming a slow handover of information from its previous auditor PwC to Grant Thornton. Its preliminary first-half results and report for the six months to Dec. 31, 2015, were also delivered late.

The company also didn't have enough independent directors for 138 business days after chairman Bryan Mogridge left in Oct. 29, 2015, with the new independent director Paul Dudley not appointed until May 23 this year. That was its third breach of its corporate governance obligations, NZX said.

That conduct was a breach of NZX's listing rules, the stockmarket operator said in a statement today. It imposed a fine of $275,000 for the periodic reporting breaches, and a $25,000 fine for the governance breaches. Pyne Gould appealed the tribunal's initial determination, and asked that the reporting fine be reduced to between $70,000 and $80,000. 

“While there were mitigating factors – including PGC’s cooperation during the investigation – the length of the breaches and the fact that these were repeat breaches by PGC, were major contributing factors," NZX head of market supervision Joost van Amelsfort said. "NZX Regulation considers this indicative of the level of penalty that will likely be sought in relation to breaches of these fundamental obligations in future.” 

NZX said this was Pyne Gould's fourth referral to the tribunal, the second consecutive occurrence of periodic reporting breaches, and the length of the breach was the longest for a reporting requirement in any matter previously referred to the tribunal.

The shares last traded at 20.5 cents and have gained 2.5 percent this year.

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