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Bethunes cancels listing with NZ Retail Propery Group

Bethunes cancels planned backdoor listing with NZ Retail Property Group

By Sophie Boot

July 25 (BusinessDesk) - Bethunes Investments' planned reverse listing with Westgate Power Centre-subsidiary NZ Retail Property Group won't go ahead, after a roadshow didn't generate enough interest, though it is still planning a new capital raising this year.

In early March Bethunes - which has been looking for suitable investment options after quitting the auction business last year - signed a non-binding conditional term sheet for what it said would be the country's biggest ever reverse listing. NZRPG, a privately-owned property development, investment and management company, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westgate.

Bethunes today said feedback from the roadshow presentations to New Zealand and Australian institutions "indicated a capital raising in the current climate would not attach in the NZRPG board’s view a fair and reasonable price to NZRPG’s portfolio of assets - given softening dynamics impacting the listed property sector and property market generally."

"While this is disappointing news, Bethunes shareholders have not incurred any direct costs from this transaction and therefore are no worse off than before the proposed transaction was announced," the company said. "Bethunes continues to research new investment opportunities as outlined at the companies annual shareholders meeting."

NZRPG said in a statement that its board "will now assess various alternative capital management options, which it expects to progress following this year’s general election."

At the annual meeting, Bethunes said it was looking to acquire around 5 percent of Pental, an ASX-listed cleaning product and personal care manufacturer, and a "potential opportunity to allow access to an interesting part of the agriculture value chain in New Zealand", though it said it couldn't yet discuss the latter.

According to the roadshow presentation, NZRPG was expected to have $575 million of assets in its property portfolio, including rights to acquire additional assets. Of that, about 40 percent, including the assets to be acquired, are development in nature. Its current portfolio includes three prime town centres located in Auckland and a shopping centre in Tauranga.

The shares last traded at 1.3 cents, and have jumped 160 percent this year.



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