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Hellaby buys Sydney-based Ryde Batteries for about A$12 mln to boost largest unit

Tuesday 1st October 2013

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Hellaby Holdings, the diversified investment company, has acquired Sydney-based Ryde Batteries in a deal valued at A$12 million to bolster its automotive division.

The purchase settled yesterday and the Australian wholesale automotive and special purpose battery company will add to earnings per share this financial year, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

Ryde, which trades as Federal Batteries, distributes nationally in Australia and is complementary to Hellaby's New Zealand battery distributor HCB Technologies. Automotive is Hellaby's largest unit, with annual earnings before interest and tax of about $20 million.

"This purchase significant strengthens our position in the trans-Tasman battery market," Hellaby managing director John Williamson said in the statement.

The acquisition will add about $3 million a year to Hellaby's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

In the 12 months ended June 30, Hellaby's gearing rose to 17.8 percent from 6.3 percent after it increased debt to acquire 85 percent of oil and gas services business Contract Resources. Its debt remained well below its ceiling of 45 percent.

The founders of Ryde Batteries will remain in the business in senior positions, Hellaby said.

Hellaby stock last traded at $2.86 and has fallen 14 percent this year.

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