NPT chairman Sewell ‘disappointed’ with shareholder dissent

Article – BusinessDesk

Friday 31 March 2017 10:55 AM

NPT chairman Sewell ‘disappointed’ with shareholder dissent over Kiwi Property deal

By Paul McBeth

March 31 (BusinessDesk) – NPT chairman Tony Sewell says Salt Funds Management’s dissenting view on a proposed deal with Kiwi Property Group is out of line with other major shareholders and he will take it up directly with the fund manager.

Salt Funds principal Matt Goodson yesterday urged his fellow NPT shareholders to reject the deal, where NPT would buy two buildings from Kiwi Property for $230 million and sell its management contract and issue shares to the larger property firm, saying it was “an unacceptable transfer of value from NPT shareholders to KPG”.

In an emailed statement, Sewell he was “disappointed” with Salt Funds’ action and that the fund manager, which owns 16.9 percent of NPT, had been regularly consulted on the deal along with other major shareholders which had been the basis of the board pursuing the transaction.

“The views expressed are at odds with the weight of independent advice we have taken and inconsistent with the feedback we have received from the market – including other major shareholders,” Sewell said. “We will take up the matter directly with Mr Goodson, but remain confident in the strength of the Kiwi Property proposal and the benefits it provides for shareholders and the longer term future of NPT.”

NPT has called a special meeting on April 21 to be held in Auckland where the Kiwi Property deal will be put to shareholders with the blessing of the board. A rival bid by Augusta Capital, which owns 9.3 percent of NPT, won’t be discussed at the meeting but Augusta’s resolutions to dump the board and install its own directors will still be voted on.

Sewell joined the NPT board in August last year, having previously been in charge of Ngai Tahu Holdings’ property division, overseeing a 20-year portfolio expansion to $600 million from $50 million. He replaced John Anderson as chair earlier this month and is joined on the board by former chair Jim Sherwin and former Ernst & Young partner Carol Campbell. The three directors are judged to be independent.

NPT shares fell 1.7 percent to 58 cents, matching the forecast price the firm would sell shares at in a $100 million entitlement offer to fund the acquisition.


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