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Turners boss to step aside

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/05/2016 Paul McBeth

The chief executive of financial services firm Turners Group is to hand over the top job to focus on a mergers and acquisitions role.

Paul Byrnes will step down next month after presiding over an annual result which saw it beat earnings guidance as its finance units performed ahead of forecast and its debt collection business delivered a record year.

Pretax earnings rose 13 per cent to $21.6 million in the year to the end of March, exceeding this month's guidance for earnings to be between $21.3m-$21.5m, which was itself an upgrade.

Revenue jumped 76 per cent to $172 million.

"It had been a very positive year with all trading operations delivering increased operating profits with a number of the businesses significantly ahead of both last year and budget," Mr Byrnes said.

"The company continues to strengthen its positioning as an integrated financial services group across vehicle buying and selling, loan and insurance origination through to debt management and recovery."

Turners became the name for the group after Dorchester Pacific acquired Turners Auctions in 2014 to complement its largely automotive loan book and insurance business.

Since then, it has added Levin-based lender Oxford Finance, Greenwich Life Insurance and Christchurch-based Southern Finance.

Chief operating officer Todd Hunter will take over as chief executive from next month, while Mr Byrnes will remain an executive director focusing on M&A under a two-year contract.

Chairman Grant Baker said the group is actively considering a number of targets, and "will hope to announce at least one further acquisition in coming months".

The board declared a final dividend of 7 cents per share, taking the annual payout to 13 cents.

Net profit fell 14 per cent to $15.6m as Turners provided for an increased tax expense.

The shares rose 1 per cent to $3.15 and have gained 4 per cent so far this year.

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