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Bapcor succeeds in Hellaby takeover as shareholders including director Paul Byrnes exit

Wednesday 1st February 2017

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ASX-listed auto firm Bapcor has succeeded in its $352 million takeover of Hellaby Holdings, in a move likely to lead to the breakup of the diversified investment group, after shareholders including director Paul Byrnes succumbed to the offer.

Bapcor's interest in the diversified investor rose to 92.7 percent from 88.6 percent, crossing the 90 percent threshold that allows it to compulsorily acquire the remaining shares. It filed a notice of dominant ownership with the NZX today. Bapcor had already declared its $3.60-per-share offer, which closes on Feb. 7, unconditional. The shares last traded at $3.57.

Last September, the Australian company raised A$185 million of new equity, with the balance of the takeover funded through its Australia & New Zealand Banking Group facility. 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.

"We are working with the leadership teams of the Hellaby businesses on gaining a deeper understanding of their business plans and their future opportunities," Bapcor chief executive Darryl Abotomey said in a statement. "Hellaby shareholders have recognised that accepting the Bapcor offer was the best alternative to optimise value from their Hellaby investment."

All of the existing directors and former directors of Hellaby have sold into the offer. Byrnes initially sold about half his stake of about 1.98 million shares in January and exited the remaining 980,086 shares yesterday, for a total payday of about $7.1 million. Bapcor took control of the boardroom last week, naming Abotomey as chair and appointing its chief financial officer Gregory Fox, general manager of strategic business development Matthew Cooper, and independent director Margaret Haseltine.

Byrnes and former Hellaby chair Steve Smith will stay on as independent directors until the offer closes while managing director Alan Clarke will keep his role to help with the change of ownership.

The takeover marks the end of Hellaby as a listed company after 23 years. It grew out of Renouf Corp, a casualty of the 1987 stock market crash and restructured by businessman Tur Borren and turned into Hellaby Holdings.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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