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Utilico emerges as 13.6% holder of Smiths City

Utilico emerges as 13.6% holder of Smiths City as Rich Lister Holdworth sells out

By Jonathan Underhill

July 2 (BusinessDesk) - Utilico Investments, a UK investor managed by Infratil director Duncan Saville, has emerged with a 13.6 percent stake Smiths City Group after former Datacom chairman and NBR Rich Lister John Holdsworth sold his shares in the Christchurch-based retailer.

Utilico holds 7.1 million shares in Smiths City, according to a statement to the NZX. A separate notice says Holdsworth ceased to be a substantial holder, having sold about 2.7 million shares, or 5.1 percent of the company.

Trading in the retailer's shares show some 4.5 million changed hands yesterday at 51 cents apiece. The stock has fallen about 17 percent in the past 12 months, while the NZX 50 Index gained 16 percent. Smiths City was last at 54 cents.

Smiths City last week reported a 24 percent decline in annual profit, citing weaker sales of appliances, which offset better returns from furnishings, finance and property.

In December Utilico reduced its holding in Infratil to 11.8 percent from 13.3 percent and it now accounts for about 15 percent of Utilico's gross assets, as the second largest holding after Utilico Emerging Markets. Among its top 10 investments after financial services and investment companies, the Vix Group automated fare collection firm, wind power, waste treatment and oil services businesses.

Utilico, an exempted closed-end Bermuda incorporated investment company, is managed by ICM Limited, of which Saville is listed as one of two directors, according to its website.

(BusinessDesk)

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