Wednesday 2nd November 2011 1 Comment
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Unhappy Pyne Gould Corp shareholders let their feelings be known at yesterday’s annual meeting, with about a quarter of the votes cast opposing the appointments of two directors.
The ill-feeling comes as cornerstone shareholder George Kerr mounts a ‘low-ball’ $47.2 million takeover bid with fellow substantial investor Baker Street Capital, a California-based hedge fund. That saw some 23 percent of votes cast oppose the re-election of independent director Bruce Irvine, who will retire in February anyway, and 25 percent oppose the election of John Duncan to the board.
Chairman Bryan Mogridge, who earlier this week stepped down as a director of Kerr’s vehicle Torchlight Investment Group, told shareholders the takeover hasn’t been formally made, and he’s limited as to what he can say until the target company statement is issued.
“There has been considerable misunderstanding about the position the company has been in over the past few weeks,” Mogridge said. “This confusion has unfortunately been compounded by the media who seem not to understand the situation and openly criticised Mr Irvine and myself for not issuing a definitive statement about whether you should sell your shares or not.”
Mogridge and Irvine yesterday issued a ‘don’t sell’ recommendation to shareholders until they receive the Grant Samuel independent valuation and Pyne Gould’s formal response.
Kerr and Baker Street’s Australasian Equity Partners is offering 33 cents per share for full control of the wealth manager, and Mogridge “strongly” suggested shareholders wait for the statement as Pyne Gould’s net tangible asset value is about 56 cents per share.
Mogridge said Pyne Gould’s Perpetual Group, which provides trustee services and financial advice, is expected to have modest trading growth in the current year, and will look to growth organically and through acquiring competitors.
He defended keeping the stakes in PGG Wrightson and Heartland New Zealand, saying the company can’t sell the shares during the takeover period.
The board’s view on the Wrightson investment is to wait and see what plans new cornerstone shareholder Agria has for the rural services company before taking a firm view, while the Heartland investment may be able to work alongside Pyne Gould’s wealth management services, Mogridge said.
The shares were unchanged at 33 cents in trading today, and have shed almost 26 percent this year.
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