George Kerr reaps NZ$3 mln from selling down PGC stake as company mulls Torchlight role

George Kerr reaps NZ$3 mln from selling down PGC stake as company mulls Torchlight role

George Kerr, a Pyne Gould Corporation director and the company's biggest shareholder, has sold 7.5 million shares pocketing NZ$3 million.

In a disclosure notice filed to the stock exchange, PGC says Kerr's Pyne Holdings Ltd sold the shares, on market, on September 23 for 41.04 cents each, raising NZ$3.078 million.

The sale reduces his 115,044,353, or 14.87%, stake but he remains the company's biggest shareholder, ahead of the Accident Compensation Corporation with 6.93%, or 53,623,514 shares.

Kerr's Pyne Holdings still has about 107.5 million shares, or 13.9%. PGC's shares were trading at 42 cents today.

The media shy Kerr's sale comes as PGC's board reviews whether the Kerr chaired subsidiary Torchlight Investment Group fits with PGC's strategic direction as the group moves to merge another subsidiary, Marac Finance, with the Canterbury Building Society and Southern Cross Building Society and seek a banking licence.

Torchlight, a  private equity operator targeting "counter cyclical investments" in areas such as infrastructure, financial services and real estate in both New Zealand and Australia, will be a big winner from the taxpayer funded Crown retail deposit guarantee scheme payout after the recent South Canterbury Finance receivership.

Torchlight contributed NZ$15 million towards a NZ$100 million loan it arranged for South Canterbury Finance earlier this year. The loan ranked ahead of South Canterbury Finance's debenture holders under the finance company's trust deed, giving Torchlight a prior charge on up to NZ$151 million, or 7.2%, of South Canterbury Finance's assets.

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