GPG to reap £92m from latest round of asset sales

Some £129m from assets sales and capital returns this year, taking cash raised to £587m since embarking on liquidating its portfolio in 2011.

Guinness Peat Group, which expects to rebrand itself as UK threadmaker Coats later this year, anticipates it will reap £92 million from its latest round of asset sales.

The London-headquartered company will have raised £129 million from assets sales and capital returns this year, taking its total cash raised to £587 million since it embarked on liquidating its portfolio in 2011.

Once GPG's assets have been sold, it will rebrand itself as Coats, its biggest holding – likely to happen in the second half of this year.

The latest grab-bag of sales include the capital return from insurer Tower worth $40.1 million, the sale of its 20 percent stake in CIC Australia for $A57.7 million, its exit from PrimeAg for $A38.5 million, the sale of a Sydney property for $A5.3 million and its agreement to sell a 10 percent stake in Tourism Property Investment Group for $A1.2 million.

As at February 22, GPG had £275 million in cash.

Last week, the investment firm received a notice from the UK Pensions Regulator that the British watchdog will look at whether the Coats pension schemes should be supported by other entities in the group.

GPG had previously expected it would need to set aside £124 million to cover any shortfall in its pension scheme obligations. As at December 31, the pension fund shortfall was valued at £281 million, with low global interest rates eroding theoretical future returns relative to its expected liabilities.

The shares fell 2.6 percent to 57 cents yesterday.