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GPG to complete rebranding

Wednesday 27 Feb 2013 12:10 p.m.

By Paul McBeth

Guinness Peat Group expects to rebrand itself as UK threadmaker Coats, its biggest asset, in the second half of 2013, having slipped into the red last year on a fine handed down by the European Court.

The London-headquartered firm made a loss of STG3 million (NZ$5.46 million) in the year ending December 31, compared to a profit of STG1m a year earlier, it said in a statement.

That captured the STG76m hit it took on the court fine handed down to Coats for a historical antitrust case.

GPG is in the process of selling assets as it winds itself down.

Coats made a net loss of US$113 million (NZ$135.74m) attributable to GPG on sales of US$1.65 billion after accounting for the fine, and its underlying business is expected to pick up this year as it hives off unprofitable units and property.

GPG raised STG314m from asset sales in the 2012 calendar year, and has generated cash proceeds of a further STG37m since then, lifting its cash balance to STG275m as at February 22.

The investment firm has reaped STG495m from assets sales since embarking on liquidating its portfolio in 2011.

"The company's composition of net assets is now comprised of its 100 percent investment in Coats, cash resources, the GPG pension schemes and a remaining pool of five material investment portfolio assets," chairman Rob Campbell said.

"As the asset realisation process progresses, further surplus cash will be returned to shareholders," he said.

The firm has no plans to pay dividends.

GPG faces a STG281m shortfall from the pension plans it supports and Mr Campbell said it would retain STG124m from asset sales to supper the pension schemes.

The shares were unchanged at 59 cents on Tuesday.

NZN

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