Bethunes moving ahead with NZ Retail Property Group backdoor listing

Bethunes today said NZ Retail Property Group's restructuring is now complete.

Bethunes Investments says a planned reverse listing with Westgate Power Centre-subsidiary NZ Retail Property Group is a step closer and binding papers are expected to be entered next week.

In early March Bethunes - which has been looking for suitable investment options after quitting the auction business last year - signed a non-binding conditional term sheet with the two companies, which it said would be the country's biggest ever reverse listing. NZRPG, a privately-owned property development, investment and management company, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westgate.

Bethunes today said NZ Retail Property Group's restructuring is now complete and it will start holding roadshow presentations to New Zealand and Australian based institutions. At the annual shareholders meeting last week Bethunes said it expects the transaction to be completed by September.

Under the terms of the deal announced in March, Bethunes' existing assets will be transferred into a subsidiary. The shares of the new company will then be distributed pro-rata to all existing shareholders. They will also receive bonus options (non-renounceable) to purchase additional new shares at a discount to the net asset backing on completion of the NZRPG transaction.

NZRPG will then be reverse-listed by Bethunes issuing shares to Westgate in exchange for all the shares is NZRPG. At the time, the NZRPG shares were worth an estimated $400 million.

According to the roadshow presentation published today, NZRPG is expected to have $575 million of assets in its property portfolio, including rights to acquire additional assets. Of that, about 40 percent, including the assets to be acquired, are development in nature. Its current portfolio includes three prime town centres located in Auckland and a shopping centre in Tauranga.

Bethunes also told its shareholders last week that post the proposed NZRPG transaction it plans to raise up to $10 million for future capital investments. It also said it plans to relist the new shares on the NZX, subject to potential costs.

The shares last traded at 1.9 cents, and have jumped 280 percent so far this year.