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Rates round-up: February 20

New directors for PGC; Petricevic to take the stand; last two South Canterbury defendants named.

Monday, 20 February 2012

by Niko Kloeten

Two new directors have been appointed to the Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC) board, amidst a takeover by George Kerr and US-based Baker Street Capital.

Michael Tinkler is a commercial lawyer with an expansive legal background and is currently acting as the PGC general counsel. Prior to this role Tinkler was a commercial real estate partner with Buddle Findlay, one of New Zealand's leading law firms.

Australian Russell Naylor has an extensive background in banking and finance and is the principal of Naylor Partners, a boutique Sydney-based Corporate Advisory business. Naylor is an executive director and investment committee member of Torchlight, and a director of ASX-listed IEF.

PGC chairman Bryan Mogridge said their skills would complement the current board's skills. It is anticipated that Mr Naylor will chair the audit committee.

He also said the company appoint a further independent director to replace Bruce Irvine, "that following the 30th of March and when we know the final outcome of the Australasian Equity Partners Fund No 1 LP ("AEP") takeover offer we will .

"We have suitable candidates in mind but need to understand the final percentage shareholding AEP will achieve and whether or not PGC remains listed on the NZSX."

Meanwhile, Kerr's infrastructure fund EPIC has had to pay a PGC subsidiary $8.8 million to exit a management contract.

Petricevic in hot seat

Former Bridgecorp managing director Rod Petricevic is set to give evidence in his defence this week, after the Crown wrapped up its case against him and fellow former directors Peter Steigrad and Robert Roest.

The three men face 10 Securities Act charges alleging they misled investors about the state of the company with incorrect statement in offer documents.

The trial, taking place in the High Court at Auckland, began last October.

Much of last week was spent focusing on $76.7 million of loans made by Bridgecorp to a company called Barcoft Holdings, and whether the loans should have been classified as related-party lending.

On Thursday after the Crown completed its case, Petricevic's lawyer Charles Cato asked for an adjournment to prepare for his client giving evidence, saying that he was "extremely tired".

Justice Geoffrey Venning granted Cato a full one-day adjournment, with the case set to resume today.

Bridgecorp collapsed in July 2007 owing $459 million to more than 14,000 investors, who have seen only 3.5c in the dollar returned so far.

Final South Canterbury defendants named

The final two of the five men facing Serious Fraud Office charges over the collapse of South Canterbury Finance (SCF) have been named.

At a hearing in the Timaru District Court last week, former SCF directors Edward Oral Sullivan and Robert Alexander White did not seek to have their name suppression orders continue.  Sullivan is a lawyer who founded Timaru-based RSM Law.

The other defendants are former chief executive Lachie McLeod, former chief financial officer Graeme Brown and Timaru chartered accountant Terry Hutton.

The five face a total of 21 charges.

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