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Bapcor succeeds in Hellaby takeover

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/01/2017 Jonathan Underhill

ASX-listed auto firm Bapcor has succeeded in its $352 million takeover of Hellaby Holdings, in a move likely to lead to the break-up of the diversified investment group, after shareholders succumbed to the offer.

Bapcor's interest in the investor rose to 92.7 per cent, crossing the 90 per cent threshold that allows it to compulsorily acquire the remaining shares.

It filed a notice of dominant ownership with the NZX on Wednesday.

Bapcor had already declared its $3.60-per-share offer, which closes on February 7, unconditional. The shares last traded at $3.57.

Last September, the Australian company raised $A185m of new equity, with the balance of the takeover funded through its Australia & New Zealand Banking Group facility.

Bapcor has said it plans to sell Hellaby's equipment, resources and footwear businesses, using the remaining automotive division as a foothold in the New Zealand market, where car sales have been hitting record levels over the last three years due to a rapid increase in population and fast growing economy.

"We are working with the leadership teams of the Hellaby businesses on gaining a deeper understanding of their business plans and their future opportunities," Bapcor chief executive Darryl Abotomey said.

All of the existing directors and former directors of Hellaby have sold into the offer.

Director Paul Byrnes initially sold about half his stake of about 1.98m shares in January and exited the remaining 980,086 shares on Tuesday, for a total payday of about $7.1 million.

Bapcor took control of the boardroom last week, naming Abotomey as chair and appointing its chief financial officer Gregory Fox, general manager of strategic business development Matthew Cooper, and independent director Margaret Haseltine.

Byrnes and former Hellaby chair Steve Smith will stay on as independent directors until the offer closes while managing director Alan Clarke will keep his role to help with the change of ownership.

The takeover marks the end of Hellaby as a listed company after 23 years.

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