PGC may be set to up stakes

Last updated 05:00 29/11/2012

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Pyne Gould Corporation looks set to quit New Zealand next year after the company said it was close to selling Perpetual Group, its only remaining operating business in the country.

At a sparsely attended annual meeting in Auckland yesterday, chairman Bryan Mogridge said the board was "seriously considering the domicile of the company".

Reading from a statement provided to the NZX earlier, he said the sale of Perpetual would leave PGC with two main assets, Torchlight Investment Group and Torchlight Securities.

Those were long-term patient investments with sufficient cashflow to cover running costs, he said, but "PGC is unlikely to ever pay a dividend".

Mogridge said Torchlight Investment Group had $30 million of capital "at risk" in Torchlight Fund No 1, which was on track to deliver returns of 20 per cent, but gains would not be realised until the fund was wound up in 2019.

The sale of Perpetual was in its final stages and a conditional deal was expected to be announced before Christmas.

Managing director and controlling shareholder George Kerr did not attend the meeting, as he was working on the Perpetual deal.

The company also announced its exit from New Zealand litigation funding "at book value".

Litigation funding had been touted by PGC as an opportunity "to protect and create value for shareholders" by funding lawsuits against those involved in finance company collapses, but attracted controversy because of its potential conflict with PGC's ownership of Perpetual Trust, trustee in many finance company failures.

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