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ACC tops up holding of beat-up MetroGlass shares

ACC tops up holding of beat-up MetroGlass shares, now owns 6.6% stake

By Jonathan Underhill

April 13 (BusinessDesk) - Accident Compensation Corp has topped up its holding of Metro Performance Glass, taking advantage of a stock that has shed almost two-thirds of its value in the past 17 months and touched a record low last month.

The state-owned accident insurer paid $2.1 million for 2.5 million MetroGlass shares between Dec. 15 last year and April 12, paying an average 83 cents apiece. The stock sank to a record low 71 cents on March 27 and was recently at 82 cents, down from as high as $2.23 in November 2016. ACC's stake rose to about 6.6 percent from 5.3 percent. It also sold 20,479 shares for $15,881, or about 77.5 cents each during the period.

The corporation is a major participant in the New Zealand stock market because it oversees funds of $37 billion, of which $2.8 billion was in New Zealand equities last year. Its investment team got a return of 5.7 percent in 2016/17, beating its benchmark.

MetroGlass shares have dropped as the commercial glass company has grappled with squeezed margins and the departure of former chief executive Nigel Rigby at the end of 2017.

Last week the Auckland-based company said normalised profit was $18 million to $18.5 million in the year ended March 31, below its guidance range of $18.5 million to $20 million and down from the previous year's profit of $21.3 million. It said profit was dented by the performance of its Australian business, which faced a "longer than anticipated disruption from the capital programme".

The uptick in ACC's holding reverses a move it made between Oct. 30 and Dec. 14 last year, when it sold about 2.1 million shares for $1.96 million, or an average of about 96 cents each

According to ACC's annual report, MetroGlass didn't make the list of its 50 largest equity investments last year. Its biggest was a $285 million investment in Kiwi Group Holdings, the parent of Kiwibank, followed by holdings in Auckland International Airport, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Contact Energy. Its biggest offshore stock was about $101 million in shares of Alphabet Inc, the parent of Google.

(BusinessDesk)

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