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Bid to oust board of property investor

NZN 28/10/2016 Paul McBeth

Augusta Capital, which bought 9.3 per cent of listed property investor NPT a month ago, wants to oust its board.

Auckland-based Augusta is seeking a special meeting of shareholders where it wants to dump chairman John Anderson and directors Jim Sherwin and Tony Sewell, replacing them with its own chairman, Paul Duffy, and independents Bruce Cotterill and Allen Bollard.

Augusta would also use the forum to put a proposal in front of the property group's shareholders where NPT would buy three buildings worth $329 million and Augusta would buy the management contract to build "a meaningful listed entity that generates greater returns than are currently being realised", it said in a statement.

"Unsuccessful attempts to engage with the NPT chairman has left Augusta little choice but to seek change at the board level so that its proposal can be put in front of NPT shareholders," it said.

Augusta paid a 14 per cent premium to take the stake in NPT at 73 cents apiece last month, saying at the time it saw value in acquiring a cornerstone stake from Accident Compensation Corp.

Augusta wants NPT to buy three office buildings, one of which is under construction, worth a combined $329m at the net tangible asset price in an uncontested process, and would support a $185m issue of new equity to help buy the assets.

It also wants to buy NPT's management contract for $3.5m, a premium to the $2.5m paid to internalise it in 2010, with an initial five-year term and automatic right renewal.

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