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Guinness Peat Selling N.Z. Portfolio; Retains Turners, Tower

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Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Guinness Peat Group Plc, a London-based investor, said it is selling its New Zealand portfolio other than its two major investments in Turners & Growers Ltd. and Tower Ltd.

New Zealand based executive director Tony Gibbs was fired in June after he publicly objected to a board plan to demerge the company’s Australian unit. The Auckland office has closed and the investments are being sold because there are few opportunities and the operation “has necessarily become expendable,” Chairman Ron Brierley said in a statement.

The 66 percent stake in Turners & Growers and 35 percent holding in Tower will be managed from Australia.

Guinness Peat, which owns Coats Plc, the world’s biggest thread maker, is listed in London, Australia and New Zealand and most of its shareholders are in New Zealand.

The company posted an 11 million pound ($24 million) profit from continuing operations in the six months ended June 30, from a 12 million pound loss a year earlier, it said. Coats earnings improved and investment returns showed a deficit, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Iain Wilson iwilson2@bloomberg.net