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Pyne Gould shares suspended for second time in two years

Pyne Gould shares suspended for second time in two years over tardy filings

By Suze Metherell

Oct. 8 (BusinessDesk) - NZX Regulation has suspended Pyne Gould Corp shares from trading for the second time in as many years after the diversified investor failed to lodge its annual report with the stock exchange.

Last week, the Guernsey-based firm blamed a change in auditor for missing the September deadline to file its 2015 annual report, and said it expected the audited financial statements would be lodged mid-October. NZX warned it had until Oct. 7 to file the report with the exchange.

This is the second year Pyne Gould has been late in filing its annual report, with its shares suspended for almost four weeks last October. The company was later fined and censured by the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal over the delayed release, which had been tagged by auditor PwC because of the firm's inability to obtain sufficient information about Pyne Gould's investment in Torchlight Group and Torchlight Fund.

Grant Thornton is Pyne Gould's new auditor, and the handover of the Torchlight accounts were blamed for the slow reporting.

In February, the Financial Markets Authority said it was reviewing Pyne Gould’s 2014 annual report over the inclusion of the $22 million gain from the sale of its Perpetual Trust unit, which is now the subject of a High Court dispute. The market regulator was no longer looking at the company's 2014 report, but said in early October it was "engaging with PGC regarding its 2015 financial reporting and we are waiting to see the 2015 annual report, once released."

In August, Pyne Gould released unaudited results showing a 99 percent decline in annual profit to 38,000 British pounds as interest income fell, expenses jumped and the asset management firm saw no repeat of the previous year's one-time $22 million gain on the sale of Perpetual Trust.

Pyne Gould booked the sum, which will be paid once new owner Bath Street Capital lists the business on the NZX, which has yet to happen. Pyne Gould is now suing Bath Street Capital and Andrew Barnes for at least $22 million that it claims is an unpaid bill from the sale of Perpetual Trust.

The company is controlled by managing director George Kerr, an NBR 2015 Rich Lister with wealth estimated at $80 million. He was left in control of Pyne Gould in 2012 when he failed to take the company private in a full takeover attempt.

Pyne Gould shares last traded at 24.5 cents, valuing the company at $48 million, and have declined some 36 percent over the past 12 months.

(BusinessDesk)

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