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Guinness Peat to rename as Coats once portfolio reduces

Thursday 25th October 2012

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Guinness Peat Group will rename itself as Coats once it has reduced the other assets in its portfolio and has lifted its buyback target to 70 million pounds from 10 million pounds.

The plans are detailed in an update to GPG's asset sale programme which has now realised 50 percent by volume and value of the portfolio it held at Jan. 1, 2011.

Since then it has sold assets including the A$124 million sale of ClearView Wealth, made a capital return of 80 million pounds, a 12 million pound cash dividend with 6 million pounds of scrip alternative, bought back $77 million of notes and agreed to buy back the remainder valued at $350 million.

GPG would be renamed Coats plc "at the point when GPG shareholders' investment is predominantly represented by the Coats business," it said in the statement. "The transition is intended to be complete in the second half of 2013."

As part of the changes planned, GPG will consider the most appropriate capital structure for 'New Coats' as a standalone listed entity while pushing on with the sale of non-Coats assets. New Coats is expected to retain "certain GPG residual obligations, principally the GPG pension schemes."

By lifting the buyback target to a maximum 70 million pounds the company would buy back the maximum 15 percent of share capital allowed under an existing shareholder authority. No shares have been bought back yet under the existing 10 million pound on-market programme.

The shares last traded at 57 cents and have climbed 15 percent in the past three months.

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