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Veritas shareholders overwhelmingly back refinancing deal

Veritas shareholders overwhelmingly back $27.5M Nomura refinancing deal

By Paul McBeth

June 25 (BusinessDesk) - Veritas Investments shareholders overwhelmingly backed a $27.5 million refinancing deal with Japan's Nomura Holdings which gives the operator of the Better Bar Co a new lease of life.

Some 99.9 percent of votes cast at today's special meeting in Auckland backed the transaction, which settles on June 28, giving the food and beverage investor enough cash to repay ANZ Bank New Zealand, and give it a $5 million credit line to use with the investment bank's approval for capital spending on growth propositions.

The meeting marked cornerstone shareholder Michael Morton's departure from the board, following his buyback of the Mad Butcher franchisor entity which was the backbone of Veritas in what was effectively a backdoor listing five years ago. Investment banker Craig Norris will replace Morton on the board, effective immediately.

"The directors wish to record their sincere thanks to Michael Morton who has resigned from the board at the conclusion of the meeting for his years of service, not only as a director but also as an operating executive, and acknowledge his ongoing interest in the business as the major shareholder," chair Tim Cook said in a statement. Norris "is currently a private investor with hospitality and tourism interests, and prior to that was a managing director in principal investment at JPMorgan based in Hong Kong."

As part of the deal, Nomura will be granted warrants letting it acquire up to 19.9 percent of Veritas for no consideration during the two years following the drawdown on the funding line.

Veritas shares were unchanged at 15 cents, valuing the company at $6.5 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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