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Kirkcaldies suitor gets more time

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 07:30 15/11/2012

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Kirkcaldie & Stains shareholders will get no Christmas bonus this year, with the company granting more time to a mystery suitor of its commercial property business.

The owner of Wellington's best known department store announced last month that it had signed a sale and purchase agreement with an unnamed buyer for the Harbour City Centre.

The retailer's shares surged to their highest level in more than four years on the news, amid expectations that a sale would result in a special dividend for investors, with a shareholder vote expected before Christmas.

The buyer's due diligence was meant to be completed yesterday, but Kirks said it had pushed the deadline back until November 30. This will push a board vote on any possible offer into early December, with a shareholder vote postponed until February.

"Full details of the transaction will be released following completion of due diligence and board approval, but in the meantime they remain subject to mutual obligations of confidentiality between the parties," Kirks said in a statement to the NZX.

Managing director John Milford said he had not seen any sign that the buyer was losing interest.

"The original due diligence timeframe was quite tight, and probably, in my view, a bit too tight. It has just been extended to make sure it is done properly."

Kirks owns the Harbour City Centre on Lambton Quay, which is adjacent to its 149-year-old department store, which is in space leased from AMP Capital.

Kirks shares dropped 1 cent to $3.11 yesterday.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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