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PINs companies placed in voluntary liquidation

The international credit crunch is hitting close to home for New Zealand investors, with a company that issued investment bonds being placed on a trading halt after its Australian hedge fund manager ran into problems.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007
The New Zealand stock exchange (NZX) said today that a trading halt had been placed on securities of PINs Securities NZ (PNZ).

The trading halt would remain in place until the earlier of the start of trading on Friday, or such time as PNZ updated the market on the implications of certain companies in the Absolute Capital Group being placed into voluntary administration, NZX said.

Absolute Capital is the Australian-based investment manager of PNZ's debt securities.

PNZ has made two offers of PINs (packaged income notes) in this country, both paying 9.25% a year.

The first listing in late 2005 and is due to mature in early 2013. The $1 notes last traded at 75c on Friday.

The other fund listed in late 2006, maturing in early 2014. Those notes last traded for 65c on November 15.

Last month PNZ deferred quarterly interest payments on both series of notes, saying developments in credit markets in the past few months had led to a deterioration in valuations of underlying assets.

That in turn affected the ability to make immediate interest payments.

On the issue of whether further interest would be paid, PNZ said interest payments remained subject to investment risk.

"The interest retention mechanism is a defensive component of the PINs structure, designed to work in times of deteriorating markets," PNZ said.

"It is included in the product to assist in maintaining the longevity of the product and maximising the potential for long term interest payments."

PNZ said the repricing of credit risk witnessed since July had been "by anyone's measure a severe event in the history of credit markets".

Absolute Capital managing director Deon Joubert says he was not in position to comment now. More clarification should come from announcements in the next day or so.

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