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Complectus sale falls through after Australia buyer breaches sale agreement

Thursday 22nd June 2017

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The sale of New Zealand financial services supervisory business Complectus has fallen through after the Australian buyer didn't meet the agreed settlement date of May 31. 

The deal was announced on May 18 with Overseas Investment Office approval and trumped a planned $150 million initial public offering. However, Auckland-based Complectus today said the company is still owned by Andrew Barnes' Bath Street Capital after Australia's Sargon Capital didn't meet the terms of the sale and purchase agreement. 

Complectus operates the Perpetual Guardian supervisory business, the brainchild of Barnes who began buying trustee firms in 2013 with the acquisition of Perpetual Trust and later went on to buy Guardian Trust. Since then the group has purchased Covenant Trustee Services, Foundation Corporate Trust and New Zealand Trustee Services and now oversees more than $130 billion of assets. He had planned to raise $150 million in a public float of the company last December but put it off citing volatility in the markets.

Sargon is a unit of Australian corporate trustee firm Trustee Partners, and was set up by entrepreneurs Philip Kingston and Aron D'Souza last year with a goal to use different risk management techniques and new technology to provide a more client-friendly service than existing firms.

Complectus said its business is still tracking "positively and will maintain its usual operations to ensure that New Zealanders have access to affordable estate planning services".

Accounts filed with the Companies Office show Perpetual Trust reported a loss of $331,000 on revenue of $4.9 million in the 12 months ended June 30, 2016, compared to a profit of $59,000 on sales of $6.4 million in the prior year. The unit paid a service fee to Guardian Trust of $5.3 million in 2016, compared to $5.6 million in 2015.

Separately, Guardian Trust's accounts show it generated a profit of $8.8 million on revenue of $43.6 million in the year ended June 30, largely unchanged from a profit of $8.8 million on sales of $44.2 million in 2015.

(BusinessDesk)

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