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Aussie fund manager sells F&P, buys into Pacific Brands

Allan Gray Australia, the first significant Fisher & Paykel Appliances shareholder to accept Haier's takeover offer, has continued its buy-up of Pacific Brands.

The fund manager, formerly known as Orbis Investment Management, became a significant shareholder of Pacific Brands – the Australian apparel company with brands including Bonds, Sheridan, Stussy and Mossimo – in August 2011, with 5.01%.

Its stake has increased in increments since May this year.

In a stock exchange disclosure this morning, signed by director Simon Marais, Allan Gray says it bought 10.6 million shares, costing $5.85 million, between October 23 and November 2, at an average price of A55.18 cents.

Allan Gray, its subsidiaries and funds – which include Qantas superannuation plan and Catholic superannuation plan – now hold 84.76 million shares in Pacific Brands, or a 9.28% stake.

In August, Melbourne-based Pacific Brands said its annual loss had widened to $A450.7 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from a $A131.9 million a year earlier. It also announced chief executive Sue Morphet will leave after five years in the job.

Allan Gray was the first major F&P shareholder to enter a lock-up agreement with Haier when it announced its initial $1.20-a-share takeover offer in September.

Chinese whiteware giant Haier will delist Fisher & Paykel Appliances after yesterday reaching the 90% compulsory acquisition mark with its $1.28-a-share takeover.

While Pacific Brands is dual-listed, it trades mostly on the ASX (ASX: PBG), where it last traded for A57 cents.

The shares (NZX: PBG) last traded at 66 cents in New Zealand, 8.3% down on the year's starting point of 72 cents.

The stock traded as high as 89 cents, in February, and as low as 60 cents, in June.

dwilliams@nbr.co.nz

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