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NPT shareholders reject property deal

NZN 21/04/2017 Rebecca Howard

NPT shareholders voted against a property deal between Kiwi Property Group and NPT on Friday and voted in favour of board changes.

Under the proposed deal, NPT would have purchased two buildings from Kiwi Property for $230 million, raising $93.9m to partially fund the deal and issuing shares, giving Kiwi Property a 19.99 per cent stake at 61 cents apiece.

The larger property investor would also buy NPT's management contract for $6m.

According to a release to the New Zealand stock exchange, NPT said 54.87 per cent of the votes cast were against the resolution, from 23.95 per cent of the holders by number.

As a result "all arrangements with Kiwi Property Group, including the sale and purchase agreements and management agreement, have now lapsed," it said.

"If you strip out Augusta Capital and Salt Funds Management from the voting, almost 80 per cent of votes cast were in favour of the proposal," said outgoing chairman Tony Sewell.

"However, this was not enough to carry it on the day and so we respectfully stand aside now for the incoming board to develop its own strategy for the future of NPT."

The company's two largest shareholders, Augusta Capital, which now has an 18.9 per cent stake, and Salt Funds Management, which owns 13.7 per cent, were both opposed.

Augusta Capital not only wanted to block the deal but also sought to spill the board.

On Friday, shareholders voted in support of board changes which have resulted in the removal of Mr Sewell and Jim Sherwin, to be replaced by independent directors, Allen Bollard and Bruce Cotterill, and Augusta Chair, Paul Duffy.

Carol Campbell maintains her board position as an independent director.

Augusta managing director Mark Francis said "the will of NPT's shareholders has seen a poor proposal rejected and the governance changed".

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