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Guinness Peat completes $1.4 billion in asset sales, turns focus to Coats

Thursday 3rd October 2013

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Guinness Peat Group has completed its two-and-a-half year asset divestment programme with the sale of its stake in Tower, realising a total of $1.4 billion, and will now focus on UK threadmaker Coats.

Guinness Peat sold its 33.6 percent stake in insurance company Tower to institutional and retail investors on Sept. 30 for $118.3 million. That was its last divestment in a programme that has seen the company exit 55 investments in listed and unlisted businesses across New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

"Following achievement of this milestone, the GPG board remains focused on repositioning Coats, the world's leading industrial thread and consumer textile crafts business, as a stand-alone listed entity," GPG chairman Rob Campbell said in a statement.

GPG plans to rebrand as Coats following the divestment process. It also plans to return capital to shareholders once its asset sales are completed and the business transformed into Coats, though the total of the return depends on the UK's Pensions Regulator review of GPG's obligations under the Coats Pension Plan and Brunel Holdings Pension Scheme, which remain on its books.

The review is likely to continue well into the 2014 calendar year, Campbell said.

Shares of GPG last traded at 57 cents, valuing the company at $799 million. Five analysts rate the company a 'hold', while two recommend it as a 'buy', according to data compiled by Reuters.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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