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Bapcor sweeps out Hellaby boardroom after securing control

Monday 23rd January 2017

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ASX-listed auto firm Bapcor has installed four new directors at Hellaby Holdings after securing control of the New Zealand firm. 

Bapcor chief executive Darryl Abotomey will assume Hellaby's chair, and the Australian company has appointed chief financial officer Gregory Fox, general manager of strategic business development Matthew Cooper, and independent director Margaret Haseltine to the board, Hellaby said in a statement to the NZX.

Hellaby directors Mark Cowsill, Gary Mollard and James Sclater resigned effective immediately, while past-chairman Steve Smith and Paul Byrnes will stay on as independent directors until the takeover closes, "at which time Hellaby’s board membership and structure will be reviewed," it said. Managing director Alan Clarke will keep his role to help with the change of ownership. 

Bapcor has said it plans to sell Hellaby's equipment, resources and footwear businesses, using the remaining automotive division as a foothold in the New Zealand market, where car sales have been hitting record levels over the last three years due to a rapid increase in population and fast growing economy.

Last week Hellaby's independent directors said they supported the takeover, having previously argued that it undervalued the company, after Bapcor declared its $3.60-per-share offer unconditional. The offer closes on Feb. 7, and Bapcor has received acceptances for 78.4 percent of Hellaby's shares. If it reaches 90 percent it will be able to enforce mop-up provisions under the Takeovers Code meaning hold-out shareholders will have to sell. 

Hellaby shares last traded at $3.58, while Bapcor's ASX-listed stock was recently down 0.9 percent to A$5.49.

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