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Williams & Kettle restructures

By Suzanne Green

Friday 3rd October 2003

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Hawke's Bay rural services company Williams & Kettle is restructuring, with the intention of increasing focus on its core rural services business.

This involves its 32% stake in and contract to manage New Zealand Rural Property Trust.

It intends to distribute shares in Rural Equities, which will have as its principal assets the 32% NZRPT stake and the management contract, to individual shareholders on a pro rata basis.

"We have decided to separate our income-producing assets in the rural services business from the lower-yield NZRPT capital growth assets," chairman John Bayly said.

"This will result in W&K becoming a purely rural services company and Rural Equities will be clearly identified as a separate, land-based, capital growth company."

Both would then be able to focus on their core businesses ­ rural services for W&K and rural property for Rural Equities.

NZRPT is an unlisted unit trust with net assets of $104 million, comprising a portfolio of 30 high-quality farms and a forest at Ngaruawahia. The total landholding is 18,290 ha.

Mr Bayly also announced a net profit after tax of $6.4 million for the year to July 2003, compared with last year's record result of $7.1 million and an increase in dividend from 23c a share to 24c a share.

The result was pleasing and after adjusting for non-recurring items was on par with last year.

"This has been achieved despite a more difficult year for the rural sector."

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