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Update: NZX rejects call for Pyne Gould delisting

Update: NZX rejects call for Pyne Gould delisting

(Recasts with NZX, FMA comment)

By Tina Morrison

Oct. 16 (BusinessDesk) - NZX, which runs New Zealand's main stock market, has rejected a suggestion from the NZ Shareholders Association that it should delist investment firm Pyne Gould Corp to protect the integrity of the market.

The association has complained to NZX and the Financial Markets Authority regarding Pyne Gould's practices, but had been told that the market is informed and can make its own decisions, NZSA chairman John Hawkins said in a statement.

Pyne Gould's shares have twice been suspended after the company failed to provide audited accounts on time, it 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 its chief executive George Kerr didn't attend annual meetings, Hawkins said.

"The situation has become farcical when a company that continually fails to meet its obligations is allowed to remain listed," Hawkins said. "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."

While delisting the company would hurt investor liquidity, "given the extended and continuing nature of the compliance issues, the integrity of the NZX market as a whole is now more important," Hawkins said.

NZX said it noted NZSA’s concerns regarding PGC and the importance for investors of access to full, accurate and timely information.

"Under the listing rules, NZX has the ability to cancel an issuer’s listing," the stock market operator said in a statement. "With the information it currently has about PGC, NZX does not consider that current circumstances justify the exercise of that discretion."

NZX and the FMA said they continued to engage with PGC as a matter of priority on a range of issues, including those raised by the NZSA, to ensure compliance with applicable financial reporting requirements and to ensure the market is adequately informed.

The Guernsey-based 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 the listed company 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.


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