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Hellaby execs sell down holdings to Bapcor

NZN 24/01/2017 Edwin Mitson

Senior executives at Hellaby Holdings sold down their stakes in the business to suitor Bapcor just days after the independent directors ended months of opposition to the takeover.

Just one non-executive director has held onto some of his shares in Hellaby, documents filed with the NZX show.

Alan Clarke, Hellaby's chief executive and managing director sold his entire stake of 106,000 shares on January 18 for $381,600.

Hellaby's independent directors backed the offer from ASX-listed Bapcor of $3.60 a share on January 16, after the offer went unconditional and Bapcor secured more than 50 per cent of the company's shares.

In September 2016, when the bid was first announced at $3.30 a share, Clarke told BusinessDesk that he didn't disagree with commentary that the bid was opportunistic.

Clarke joined Hellaby in November 2015 from Abano Healthcare, where he had successfully fended off multiple takeover bids. He remains managing director of Hellaby to help manage the change in ownership.

The only executive who didn't sell down his entire holding was Paul Byrnes, who has been a non-executive director at Hellaby since 2003. The documents show that he sold just 20,000 shares to Bapcor for $72,000 on January 18. This reduced his stake to 980,086 shares, or 1 per cent of Hellaby's shares. At the price of $3.60 a share, Byrnes stake remains worth $3.52 million.

Byrnes, alongside former chairman Steve Smith, are staying on as independent directors until the takeover closes. Smith, sold his stake of 200,000 shares on January 19 for $720,000.

Richard Jolly, Hellaby's chief financial officer and company secretary sold his stake of 150,000 shares on the same day for $540,000.

James Sclater pocketed $524,524 for his 145,701 shares, Gary Mollard got $117,533 and Mark Cowsill $36,000. All three directors resigned on January 23.

Bapcor holds 83 per cent of Hellaby and is seeking 90 per cent so it can take full ownership and de-list the company from the NZX. The closing date for the takeover offer is February 7.

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