PGC to continue share buybacks; Torchlight audit still going

Pyne Gould Corp, which is controlled by managing director George Kerr, will keep on buying back shares as it looks to narrow the shortfall from its net tangible asset value, and said it expects the audit of its Torchlight investment should be done before it releases its first-half earnings.

Chairman Bryan Mogridge told shareholders in Auckland the firm will continue with its planned share buyback to make up the difference between its share price – up 5.1 percent to 41 cents – and its net tangible asset (NTA) value at 73 cents per share. So far it has bought 9.1 million shares on market and cancelled them, having announced plans to buy up to 15 percent, or some 30 million shares, to narrow the gap.

Pyne Gould’s annual audit is expected to be completed before it reports its results for the six months ending Dec. 31, Mogridge said. The firm’s annual report was tagged by auditor PwC, which was unable to obtain sufficient information about Pyne Gould’s investment in Torchlight Group and Torchlight Fund.

Mogridge said the firm is well-placed with its investment in Torchlight, cash holdings and zero bank debt, and sees strong growth opportunities in Europe.

“It has been a very busy three years for the company and after considerable reconstruction, PGC is very well placed to grow the underlying value per share further within Australia, the UK, and Europe, Mogridge said in speech notes released to the NZX. “Our future and opportunities are overseas, but in pursuit of enhancing that value for shareholders we won’t lose sight of our origins here in New Zealand.”

Pyne Gould is considering restoring its 50 percent of net profit after tax dividend policy as it is “ahead of its restructuring objectives and is confident in both the financial strength and strategic direction of the company”. That comes almost three years after Kerr said the firm was no longer a high-dividend stock and needed owners with a long-term view and the ability to inject more capital, in his pitch to take over the company after its exit from Marac Finance.

Last year, Mogridge told shareholders the company is seeking to deliver compound growth north of 15 percent over the medium to long term, meaning it will deliver “lumpy results” and has a policy of not providing market guidance.

The company, which migrated its accounts to British-controlled tax haven Guernsey at the start of the year, is looking to list on the London stock exchange in the first quarter of next year, and will begin reporting its accounts in sterling from the 2015 financial year.

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