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Newcall Puts Out Buy Back Offer

Newcall Group Limited is offering to buy back all shares from investors holding up to 2,000 shares at the average NZSE listed price of 4.6c each.

NGL Managing Director, Jim Bracknell, says if all shareholders concerned sell their shares back to the company, the number of shareholders will be more than halved from 3,203 to 1,455. There are, he says, less than 890,000 shares to which the buy-back offer applies.

Mr Bracknell says at the same time those shareholders holding less than 2,000 shares will be offered the opportunity to increase their portfolios to this level at the listed price of 4.6c per share.

"We are involved here in a simple housekeeping operation," he explains. " It is an expensive task complying with statutory notification obligations in respect of shareholders with very small shareholdings and this buy-back will reduce our costs quite significantly."

Mr Bracknell anticipates a saving of $30 per year in respect of each shareholder participating in the buy-back, with a total potential annual saving to NGL of $52,440. He says shareholders who sell their shares back to the company will be paid out with no brokers' fees involved.

Details of the buy-back will be sent to eligible shareholders during August and the record date for the transaction will be 31 August 2001.

Once the buy-back is completed, NGL's largest of its remaining shareholders will remain Thai-based Charoong Thai Wire & Cable Co Ltd whose shareholding will be marginally increased from 32.56 per cent to 32.77 per cent.

Earlier this year, NGL closed down its New Zealand telco subsidiary and is now focused on growing its electricity retailing subsidiary, Energy Online, both in New Zealand and, through joint venture partners, in Australia and Singapore as soon as the electricity market deregulates in those countries.

The group is also successfully marketing its proprietary billing and customer management software for the energy and telecommunications industries through licensing arrangements with wholly owned subsidiary Newcall Technology Ltd.

The group took a 3.3 per cent stake in Rocom Communications in payment for a copy of its branded CBS billing system, and more recently signed a cross licensing agreement with Auckland custom software developer, Scimitar Technologies Ltd.

The latter deal, giving each other the right to on-sell telecommunications billing, power billing and customer management systems, places a $1 million cap on future licencing arrangements.

The CBS system, priced at $3 million on a Price Waterhouse Coopers valuation, was bought by the group's Singapore telco subsidiary, Newcall Communications Singapore Pte Ltd, one of the telcos licensed to operate in that newly deregulated telecommunications market.

ends

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