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Agria delisting on Wrightson's mind

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/11/2016 Jonathan Underhill

PGG Wrightson said its independent directors will meet to consider the implications for the company of the New York Stock Exchange's investigation and proposed delisting of Agria Corp's American depositary shares, which were suspended from trading on Nov. 3.

Agria indirectly owns 50.2 per cent of Wrightson (PGW) through Agria (Singapore).

The NYSE plans to delist Agria after an investigation by NYSE Regulation that "uncovered evidence demonstrating that the company and its management engaged in operations contrary to the public interest and not in keeping with sound public policy."

NYSE stated that it identified evidence indicating that the company "through a top executive and other intermediaries engaged in trading intended to artificially inflate Agria's stock price, including to improperly avoid having the company delisted for failing to comply with NYSE's continued listing standards requiring companies to maintain an average stock price of at least $1.00 per share over a consecutive thirty day trading period; and provided incomplete, misleading, or false information in connection with investigations related to these issues," Agria said in a statement, citing the NYSE.

Agria said it was seeking further information about the circumstances of the NYSE allegations and considering options including an appeal. It also said it was subpoenaed in December 2015 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission "in connection with a non-public investigation".

"The SEC's subpoena is focused on, among other things, Agria's historic and ongoing business operations in China," Agria said.

Wrightson's independent directors, Bruce Irvine, John Nichol and Ronald Seah, have reformed as a committee to consider and assess the implications of the moves against Agria, the company said.

Wrightson shares fell 3 per cent to 46.5 cents and have gained 12 per cent this year, outpacing a 6.2 per cent gain for the S&P/NZX 50 Index. Agria's ADS stock was last traded at 84.9 US cents, having first dropped below US$1 in January.

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