Briscoe Group revives speculation about Kathmandu bid

Briscoe Group has consistently reported strong sales despite a tough retail market.
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Briscoe Group has consistently reported strong sales despite a tough retail market.

Questions are being raised as to whether listed retailer Briscoe Group is planning another tilt at outdoor clothing company Kathmandu.

In a surprise move on Friday, Briscoe announced it would seek a "foreign exempt entity" listing on the ASX next week, alongside its existing NZX listing.

"We believe that the greater visibility from a dual-listing will contribute to increased investor interest and a broader shareholder base which will increase our ability to take advantage of fresh opportunities that we identify," its chairwoman Dame Rosanne Meo said. 

Briscoe's managing director Rod Duke has never given up on Kathmandu.
SUPPLIED

Briscoe's managing director Rod Duke has never given up on Kathmandu.

She said the company would not be seeking to raise capital in conjunction with its listing.

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No further details were available, although there could be more said at the company's annual meeting next Tuesday.

Briscoe, one of the country's most successful listed retailers, hinted at Australian aspirations when it made a takeover bid for Kathmandu in 2015.

Kathmandu's shareholders rebuffed the offer, but the dual-listed company has many Australian investors.

Briscoe already owns 20 per cent of Kathmandu and has never officially given up hope of owning the company which would have given it an Australian foothold.

Shane Solly, an analyst with Harbour Asset Management, which holds 6.1 per cent of Kathmandu, said he did not want to make any assumptions.

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But one of the stumbling blocks for Australian investors in Briscoe's previous offer was that it was a largely share-based offer when Briscoe itself was not on the Australian sharemarket. 

An ASX listing "does open the path" for further dialogue over Kathmandu, he said.

A Briscoe expansion into Australia would also not be simple, as the Rebel Sport brand which Briscoe runs in New Zealand is operated by another company, Super Retail Group, across the Tasman.

There has also been a drift of New Zealand companies to the Australian sharemarket in recent times to tap into bigger pools of capital. Recent examples include AFT Pharmaceuticals, Volpara and Trilogy.

 - Stuff

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