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Hellaby raises fashion stake

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Monday 20th November 2000

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Hellaby Holdings has its eye on the Australian clothing market after increasing its stake in upmarket New Zealand clothing manufacturer and retailer Specialty Brands.

Specialty Brands has annual sales of $30.5 million and produces the Rodd & Gunn and Logan Yachting range of clothing, which it sells through eight Outdoor Heritage stores in New Zealand and 13 stores in Australia. It also has three factory outlets in New Zealand.

Hellaby bought into the clothing company earlier this year with a 33% share, and has now agreed to buy a further 30% from Specialty Brands' retired MD and founder Gary Gwynne. Hellaby will also exercise its convertible notes to lift its total share to 82%.

Managing director, David Houldsworth, says the additional capital provided by Hellaby has enabled Specialty Brands to make significant improvements in its operating systems and it is now well placed to being implementing a 5-year expansion programme aimed at increasing its presence in Australia.

"The backing and resources provided by Hellaby means Specialty Brands is now able to focus on implementing a planned programme of building the strength and presence of the Rodd & Gunn and Logan Yachting brands in the Australian market."

Hellaby has appointed one of its own managers, Michael Beagley, to head Specialty Brands. The company says Mr Beagley has been responsible for the repositioning and strongly improved profitability of the Hellaby-owned Hannahs footwear chain, which has 74 outlets in New Zealand and is currently expanding into Australia.

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