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New chair for renamed Viking

Monday 11th August 2008

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Former Finance Minister Bill Birch will take over from Brent King as chairman of Viking Capital, the investment group that will be renamed to reflect recent acquisitions.

On August 25, Viking will become Investment Research Group, the name of its subsidiary that acquired Equity Investment Advisers in May. Viking bought the businesses from financial adviser Stephen Rogers, who in turn bought them from Dorchester Pacific. King will stay on as managing director.

"The markets are difficult but all markets move in cycles," Birch said in a statement. "The key at this time is to ensure that we have a well considered and appropriate plan, plus a very tight focus on day to day management and cash flow," he said.

Viking stock, which trades infrequently, has declined 50% this year and posted a full-year NZ$15.2 million loss after a slump in the value of its investments in Dorchester Pacific investment and ICP Biotechnology, which was placed in receivership. Dorchester stock slumped 80% this year after its finance arm defaulted on loans.

Dorchester Finance deferred repayments on $168 million of debentures because of a liquidity squeeze.

By Jonathan Underhill

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