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St Laurence Receives Upgraded Credit Rating

13 December 2006

St Laurence Receives Upgraded Credit Rating

Property investment and finance company St Laurence Limited announced it has been awarded a B2 investment grade rating from New Zealand credit rating agency Risk Analysis Limited, performing at 71% of its optimum potential, following a full quantitative and qualitative assessment on the company.

This represents a significant rating upgrade for St Laurence Limited on the B3 rating dated October 2005, undertaken by Risk Analysis predecessor Rapid Ratings who exited the New Zealand market this year. Its methodology is now being utilised by Risk Analysis Limited.

Risk Analysis managing director Ron Keene says, when compared with its peers in the finance industry, St Laurence Limited’s financial performance has grown markedly in the past 12 months, performing better than 81% of its peer group.

Risk Analysis says St Laurence Limited’s qualitative analysis has also increased by five percentage points, a substantial change over the previous year. The increase is attributable to improved financial risk and the impact of the changes to the St Laurence group, changes that have given it the ability to improve financial performance, broaden its asset base and spread risk, Risk Analysis says.

“There is also potential for that performance to grow further, as recent structural changes and acquisitions by St Laurence Limited begin to take effect and additional revenue streams from the management of investment funds flow into the company,” Mr Keene says.

St Laurence Limited recently acquired several of the St Laurence group’s wider businesses and management contracts, putting them under the one umbrella of St Laurence Limited with the intention to increase transparency and further strengthen the group’s financial position.

St Laurence Limited managing director Kevin Podmore says the company is delighted with the outcome of the thorough ratings assessment. “The increase in rating to B2 reinforces that the recent changes that St Laurence has undertaken have streamlined the business and strengthened the group’s financial position and capital base.

“We are now in a very strong position to prepare for future growth, and the company and its investors will benefit from that.”

Mr Podmore congratulated Risk Analysis for continuing to provide a ratings service in New Zealand. “We believe it is vital New Zealand’s finance companies support credit rating agencies such as Risk Analysis. Their services provide certainty for investors wanting to put their money into credible finance companies with a proven history and solid financial base,” he says.

As part of the ratings process, Risk Analysis also assessed the credit quality of St Laurence Limited’s secured debenture stock, and has assigned a credit rating of B2 to St Laurence Limited’s secured debenture stock of 12 month maturity from the date of the report.

Risk Analysis’ rating remains in effect until November 2007 unless withdrawn or amended by Risk Analysis prior to that date.

ENDS

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