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Pyne Gould says litigation likely over Perpetual Trust sale

Wednesday 29th August 2018

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Pyne Gould Corp says it's more likely to head to court to recover what it claims it's owed on the sale of Perpetual Trust to Bath Street Capital five years ago. 

Last year the firm raised the spectre of litigation, having dropped a claim and counter-claim over the trustee transaction in 2016.

Today, the Guernsey-based, NZX-listed wealth management firm lowered the valuation of its receivable for the Perpetual business to $16.6 million from $17.7 million a year earlier. 

"The directors consider the receivable remains recoverable, however, time will be required to achieve this outcome," managing director George Kerr said in his report. "Litigation is looking increasingly likely to be necessary in order to progress recovery of this asset."

Pyne Gould has been embroiled in a number of separate legal disputes for several years. Most recently, it took control of the distressed asset manager Torchlight Fund as part of a settlement with unhappy investors including Accident Compensation Corp and Crown Asset Management, which had pursued that firm through the Cayman Islands courts.

Kerr, who owns a controlling stake in Pyne Gould, today said the Torchlight settlement will materially lift net tangible assets in the 2019 financial year. The fund's biggest asset is Australian property developer RCL, with projects in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Queenstown.

Pyne Gould reported a net profit of 8.3 million British pounds in the year ended June 30, compared to a loss of 19.7 million pounds a year earlier. Much of the reversal related to a settlement with Australian businessman John Grills’ Wilaci unit earlier over a disputed loan repayment.,

"We are still only part way towards our goal of realising significant value from all the distressed assets acquired over the past decade, but considerable progress has been made," Kerr said. "With TFLP having successfully defended the Cayman litigation and agreed settlement on terms favourable for the remaining limited partners, its full focus is now on maximising returns for its investors and PGC."

Pyne Gould reported a net investment loss of 71,000 pounds in the year, compared to a gain of 9.9 million pounds a year earlier. The latest figure included net revenue of 2.1 million pounds from land development and resales. 

The company's audited accounts are due by the end of September. Pyne Gould's auditor Grant Thornton NZ resigned in July after a waiver from the Guernsey regulator expired.

The firm managed to get its audited accounts in on time last year having filed them late in 2014 through 2016. Pyne Gould blamed some of those delays on a slow handover when Grant Thornton took over the audit from PwC. The firm has gone through three audit firms since 2012 when KPMG quit over a disagreement with Kerr over whether some related party transactions needed disclosing. 

The shares rose 3 percent to 34, adding to the 10 percent gain so far this year. 

(BusinessDesk)

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