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February set for Augusta's day in court

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/12/2016 Jonathan Underhill

Augusta Capital has been granted a date in February next year for its High Court proceedings seeking orders requiring listed property investor NPT to call a meeting of shareholders to discuss its hostile bid.

The hearing date has been set for Feb. 10, NPT said in a statement in which chairman John Anderson describes the legal proceedings as "an unfortunate distraction."

Augusta is attempting to oust Anderson and directors Jim Sherwin and Tony Sewell, replacing them with its own chairman Paul Duffy and independents Bruce Cotterill and Allen Bollard.

It's seeking a shareholder meeting to vote on the board and use the forum to propose buying three buildings worth $329 million so Augusta could buy the management contract.

Anderson said the board had already recommended a shareholder meeting could be held in February, allowing enough time for a review of four proposals, including Augusta's.

"We are confident that the meeting will take place before the legal process is completed, and so this action is not constructive and is in fact pointless," Anderson said.

"The board will now return its focus to the task at hand, which is reviewing all proposals based on merit in the interests of all shareholders and the future of the company."

NPT has hired Northington Partners for an independent assessment of the proposals, it said.

Augusta took a 9.3 per cent stake in NPT in September in a deal with the Accident Compensation Corp, buying shares at 73 cents apiece, above the then market price of 64 cents.

NPT shares are currently trading at 67 cents, valuing the company at $108m, and are little changed this year. Augusta last traded at $1.04, giving the company a market value of $91m, and have gained 4 per cent this year.

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