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UPDATED: Guinness Peat exits Tower stake for $118 mln

UPDATED: Guinness Peat exits last asset outside Coats, sells Tower stake for $118 mln

(Adds First NZ Capital handled sale in second paragraph, updates shares)

Sept 30 (BusinessDesk) - Guinness Peat Group has sold its stake in Tower for about $118 million leaving the UK threadmaker Coats as its sole investment and signalling the end of its portfolio divestment.

GPG sold about 69.6 million shares at $1.70 apiece, the company said in a statement to the NZX. That’s 5.6 percent below the level they traded On Friday. Today the stock fell 1.1 percent to $1.78. First NZ Capital handled the sale, of which at least 19.9 percent was placed to institutions and retail investors at $1.70 per share, according to a separate substantial security holder notice.

Shares of Tower, which sold its life business to Fidelity Life Assurance for about $145 million in cash and liabilities in May, have fallen 6.4 percent this year, while the NZX 50 Index climbed 18 percent.

GPG plans to rebrand as Coats following the divestment process. The latest sale would lift its cash holdings to about 390 million pounds.

Shares of GPG rose 0.9 percent to 57.5 cents, valuing the company at $802 million. The stock is rated a ‘hold’ based on the consensus of seven analysts polled by Reuters.

GPG plans to return capital to shareholders once its asset sales are completed and the business transformed into Coats, though the total of the return depends on the UK’s Pensions Regulator review of GPG’s obligations under the Coats Pension Plan and Brunel Holdings Pension Scheme, which remain on its books.


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