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NZSA wants Pyne Gould delisted from NZX for tardy behaviour

NZSA wants Pyne Gould delisted from NZX for tardy behaviour

By Tina Morrison

Oct. 16 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Shareholders Association wants NZX to delist Pyne Gould Corp, which has been repeatedly tardy over regulatory filings, to protect the integrity of the market.

The association has made five written complaints to the stock market operator and the Financial Markets Authority regarding the accounting practices of the Pyne Gould. The shares had twice been suspended after the company failed to provide audited accounts on time.

Pyne Gould has been censured and fined three times for governance and other listing rule failures, had three different auditors in three years, restated its accounts, made comparisons in different currencies, and had a chief executive, George Kerr, who didn't attend annual meetings, NZSA chairman John Hawkins said in a statement.

Shareholders including the association sought clarification at the company’s last annual meeting, but the chairman refused to answer questions about key operating investments, and the auditors would not elaborate on matters that led to a qualified audit, Hawkins said. He said the reaction to NZSA complaints has been that the market is informed and can make its own decisions.

"In our opinion, this is total nonsense," he said. "Just because the market knows a company may not be in compliance does not mean that shareholders are able to assess the effect of that non compliance without access to full, accurate and timely information".

"In our view, it is time NZX stopped the constant appeasement and got on with their primary obligation to protect investors from a company that is repeatedly failing in its obligations", Hawkins said. "The NZSA realises that this will create an illiquid position for some investors, and that is very unfortunate. That has undoubtedly also been a consideration for NZX. However, given the extended and continuing nature of the compliance issues, the integrity of the NZX market as a whole is now more important."

The Guernsey-based company plans to list elsewhere which should address liquidity in the future, Hawkins said. The company is controlled by managing director and CEO Kerr, an NBR 2015 Rich Lister with wealth estimated at $80 million. He was left in control of a listed Pyne Gould in 2012 when he failed to take the company private in a full takeover attempt.

PGC's shares have declined 42 percent so far this year and last traded at 24.5 cents.

NZX wasn't immediately available for comment.


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