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James Pascoe bumps up Warehouse stake

David and Anne Norman's retail group buys Woolies' stake in The Warehouse for $87m.

Calida Smylie
Tue, 03 Mar 2015

Retail group James Pascoe has just announced it has increased its shareholding in The Warehouse Group [NZX: WHS] to 16.44% after buying out Australian retailer Woolworths' stake for $87.1 million.

The New Zealand retail group, owned by David and Anne Norman, owns brands such as Farmers, Whitcoulls, Pascoes, Stevens, Stewart Dawsons and Goldmark.

Today it bought 30,548,887 shares for $A83,925,512, implying a price of about $A2.74 a share.

James Pascoe also lifted its holding to 7.4% in January from the 6.3% it disclosed in October, when it first emerged as a substantial shareholder. 

But pre-empting speculation, "James Pascoe does not intend to make a takeover bid for The Warehouse", says the company’s chief financial officer Kevin Turner, in a brief statement.  

The Warehouse fits within James Pascoes’ philosophy of supporting New Zealand retail, and no further comment will be made, he says.

On the other hand, Woolworths said it sold its stake - for less than what it bought it for - because it no longer fitted with its plans.

The sale price is $96.4 million below the $183.4 million the Australian retailer paid for its stake in September 2006, although some of that has been mitigated by the $68 million Woolworths pulled out in dividends since November 2006.

In a statement to the ASX, Woolworths said its wholly-owned New Zealand subsidiary General Distributors sold its 8.8% stake in The Warehouse after it decided its “investment in Warehouse is no longer required as part of its New Zealand strategy”. 

The Warehouse Group has been struggling to turn around in a tough retail environment as of late, and reports interim earnings on Friday.

Its shares have risen 3.68% today to $2.82, but have dropped 20.83% in the past year.

Calida Smylie
Tue, 03 Mar 2015
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James Pascoe bumps up Warehouse stake