01/03/2017 - 14:13

Heytesbury takes Wellard stake

01/03/2017 - 14:13

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The investment vehicle of Pakistani meat producer Tariq Butt has sold its remaining 9.5 per cent stake in Wellard to private company Heytesbury, at a premium to the listed agribusiness’s recent trading price.

Wellard chief executive Mauro Balzarini. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The investment vehicle of Pakistani meat producer Tariq Butt has sold its remaining 9.5 per cent stake in Wellard to private company Heytesbury, at a premium to the listed agribusiness’s recent trading price.

Butt Nominees said it had struck a deal with Heytesbury for the sale of its 9.48 per cent shareholding for 21 cents per share.

That price is a premium to Wellard’s last closing price of 17 cents a share. Wellard listed in December 2015 at $1.39 per share. Butt Nominees bought the bulk of its stake between August and September last year. When it first emerged as a substantial shareholder the share price was around 40 cents a share but the price did slide somewhat after that hitting a low point below 25 cents in September.

“We are happy with our exit price and the fact the buyer is Heytesbury, an iconic and well-regarded player in Australia’s cattle industry,” Butt director Tyron Dennison said.

“We have had approaches from other parties for our stake, but were determined to go with a credible industry participant like Heytesbury.

“Butt never saw its stake in Wellard as a get-rich-quick scheme but genuinely wanted to support Wellard in turning around what has been a poor financial and operating performance since the company listed in December 2015.”

It follows news yesterday that Wellard had slashed its first-half loss and flagged a return to profit in the 2018 financial year.

That’s after Butt vented its concerns about the direction of the company at Wellard’s AGM in November. Butt was Wellard's third-largest shareholder at the time.

“We exit our Wellard holding disappointed we were not invited to help the company, but gratified our concerns about Wellard’s strategy and governance were shared by many other Wellard shareholders at the company’s AGM last November,” Mr Dennison said.

“We still believe major change is needed at board and senior management levels to ensure Wellard can prosper.”

Mr Dennison said Mr Butt continues to be a financier to Wellard associate WGH Holdings and Wellard chief executive Mauro Balzarini.

Shares in Wellard closed 11.7 per cent higher to 19 cents each.

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