10 Dec 2012

Changes at GPG sought by Soros fund

7:03 am on 10 December 2012

An investment fund linked to George Soros is agitating for changes at Guinness Peat Group.

Quantum Strategic Partners, which has an 8% stake in the firm which was founded by Sir Ron Brierley, is seeking support for its plans to speed up GPG's asset sales programme and maximise returns from its Coats threadmaking business.

GPG faced a very messy and public battle from dissatisfied investors over its future only a few years ago, resulting in it winding itself up.

Now another tussle for control appears to be brewing.

Quantum Strategic Partners, which is linked to Mr Soros, a billionaire investor, is agitating for further changes.

Radio New Zealand understands that QSP met a number of larger institutional investors in Auckland at the end of last month to sound out support for changes to GPG's board and speed up asset sales.

It also outlined proposals for Coats over tax losses and possible tie-ups with rivals.

GPG chairman Rob Campbell said it's news to him and that Quantum has been supportive of the company's strategy.

GPG has sold more than half of its assets and Mr Campbell has said it's on track to effectively become a threadmaking business by September next year.