Brierley passes halfway point in GPG exit, raising $17.73m
Corporate raider Sir Ron Brierley has passed the halfway point in his exit from Guinness Peat Group, the investment firm he founded in the early 1990s, and has raised some $17.73 million in a series of sales since October last year.
The Sydney-based septuagenarian sold 5 million shares in GPG at 60 cents apiece for a total of $3 million on March 5, according to a notice to the stock exchange.
That takes the running tally to 30 million shares sold on the ASX and NZX since he embarked on selling down last year, and leaves him with 21.9 million shares, representing 1.45 percent of the firm's voting rights.
GPG expects to have liquidated its investment portfolio by the second half of the year, leaving the UK threadmaker Coats as its sole asset. Once that is done, the firm will be rebranded as Coats and shareholders will get a cash return when the unit can operate on a standalone basis.
The stock was unchanged at 60 cents in trading today, and is rated an average 'outperform' based on six analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters with a median target price of 67 cents.
Since losing control of GPG's board in 2011, Sir Ron has set up another diversified investment vehicle, ASX-listed Mercantile Investments. He seized control of Mercantile, then called India Equities Fund, last year when shareholders agreed to a deal giving him 54 percent of the company and its chair in return for his stakes in a handful of Australian listed companies.
He subsequently brought in his old comrades Ron Langley and Gary Weiss via an $A2 million placement.
Mercantile is at least the third diversified investment vehicle for Sir Ron, who built GPG after being forced out of Brierley Investments.
The empire named for him had struggled to recover from the 1987 sharemarket crash and now exists as GuocoLeisure, with its primary listing on the Singapore stock exchange.