Bath Street Capital files counter-claim against Pyne Gould Corp

The claim contends the protracted fight over what's owed in relation to Pyne Gould's sale of Perpetual Trust.

Bath Street Capital, which has been building up its local trustee business, has filed a counter-claim in the High Court against Pyne Gould Corp [PGC].

The claim contends the protracted fight over what's owed in relation to Pyne Gould's sale of Perpetual Trust has slowed progress for Bath Street's stock exchange listing and generated substantial costs for the firm.

Auckland-based Bath Street hasn't quantified the total amount of its action, though it says it's more than Pyne Gould's claim for damages of at least $22 million. The dispute is over Bath Street's acquisition of Pyne Gould's Perpetual Trust business, which Pyne Gould says should have been settled.

"We are robustly defending PGC's claim on the grounds that there is absolutely no obligation under the agreement to list by a particular date or even at all," Bath Street director Andrew Barnes said in a statement.

"A series of actions taken by PGC after the agreement was put in place has substantially slowed progress towards a listing and caused BSC and its related entities to incur substantial costs."

Pyne Gould filed its claim in September after Bath Street rejected a demand for payment earlier this year. Bath Street has previously said it would vigorously defend the claim, and will call Pyne Gould managing director George Kerr and his associates to give evidence if it goes to court.

The transaction attracted the attention of the Financial Markets Authority after Pyne Gould recognised the $22 million gain in its 2014 annual earnings on the sale of Perpetual, despite the payment not being triggered.

Pyne Gould later said it would reclassify the amount as an "available for sale financial asset" in its first-half accounts, and its 2015 annual statements showed a one-time gain of £11.3 million pounds Sterling on the sale of discontinued operations in 2014.

Pyne Gould's shares have been suspended from trading on the NZX after it failed to lodge its annual report with the stock market operator within the statutory timeframe for a second year in a row, and this week pushed out the latest extension to filing the accounts.

The shares last traded at 24.5 cents.

(BusinessDesk)

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