GPG sells stake in Ridley Corp for $A54m cash

This takes total cash raised to £623 million since GPG embarking on liquidating its portfolio in 2011.

Guinness Peat Group, which expects to rebrand itself as UK threadmaker Coats later this year, has sold its 20 percent stake in ASX-listed agri-products maker Ridley Corp.

The London-headquartered firm expects to reap $A54 million in cash proceeds from the sale, adding the equivalent of some £34 million to the £129 million it has generated from asset sales and capital returns this year.

That takes total cash raised to £623 million since GPG embarked on liquidating its portfolio in 2011.

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

Last month, 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.

Shares in GPG rose 0.9 percent to 55.5 cents today, while shares in Ridley jumped 11 percent to 87 Australian cents.