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H&G Offer For Rural Equities Shares

H & G Extends Partial Offer For Rural Equities Shares And Will Consider Price Increase

H & G Ltd, which has made a partial offer for Rural Equities Ltd, today announced an extension of the offer from June 24 to July 8 2004 and indicated that it will consider increasing its current $1.25 per share offer.

H & G Ltd and certain of its associates already control about 35 percent of Rural Equities Ltd. If it succeeds with its partial offer for 2,303,551 shares in Rural Equities, H & G and associated interests will control 50.1 percent of the company, with H & G owning 40.83 percent.

H & G Director David Cushing said today the situation had become somewhat confusing for shareholders since Wellington based St Laurence Equities Ltd had launched a rival bid for 100% of the company, only to abandon it on Friday.

"St Laurence has also made a "Claytons" stand in the market for 19.9% of the company late last week."

"In fact, what they are asking Rural Equities shareholders to do is to make a binding offer to sell to St Laurence, without St Laurence having any obligation to purchase the shares, while St Laurence remains free to accept offers on a different basis."

"Shareholders should have no doubt that H & G is in this for the long haul. We know Rural Equities and the agricultural sector well and our intention is to create value and act in the best interests of shareholders. There is nothing opportunistic about our bid."

"We want to offer shareholders fair value for their shares on a straightforward and easily understood basis. They can also stay with the company as it moves forward and participate in its future under our direction."

"We expect to make another statement after the next H & G Board meeting on June 18 when we have reviewed, with our advisers, the changed situation which has arisen since St Laurence abandoned its 100% bid on Friday," said Mr Cushing.

Mr Cushing said shareholders should follow the latest advice of the Rural Equities independent directors and do nothing for the moment, until they received further advice.

Shareholders who have already accepted H & G's offer will be paid at the higher rate if H & G decides to increase its offer.

Rural Equities was split off from Hawkes Bay rural services firm Williams and Kettle earlier this year. It manages the New Zealand Rural Property Trust and also owns 32 percent of the Trust.

A letter has been sent to Rural Equities Ltd shareholders outlining H & G's position.

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