Tower N.Z. May Resume Dividend Payments This Year

(Corrects name of chairman in second paragraph.)

Tower Ltd. (TWR), New Zealand's third- biggest fund manager for individuals, may resume dividend payments after spinning off its Australian unit last year.

Tower will start paying dividends ``as soon as is possible and efficient,'' Chairman Tony Gibbs told shareholders at their annual meeting in Auckland today.

The Auckland-based company spun off its Australian arm to allow the two unit to focus on their own markets. Tower's second- half profit rose 56 percent excluding profit on the sale of Tower Australia. It stopped dividend payments in the second half of 2002 after posting a full-year loss of NZ$75 million ($51 million).

``Growth across the New Zealand businesses has been steady and we are confident that it will improve in 2007,'' Barton said. Tower is assessing dividend payments ``as a matter of urgency.''

Notes for his speech were released to the New Zealand stock exchange.

Shares of Tower fell 12 cent, or 4.7 percent, to NZ$2.45 at 12:44 p.m. in Wellington.

Tower Australia Group Ltd. began trading on the S&P/ASX 200 Index in September.

-- Editor: Underhill.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Emma O'Brien in Wellington on eobrien6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Vercoe pvercoe@bloomberg.net

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