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Spicers warms up the market

Spicers' owner Sterling Grace, is warming up the market with talk of an IPO.

Tuesday, October 9th 2001, 1:08AM

by Philip Macalister

Sterling Grace Portfolio Management Group, the company which owns Spicers, is considering its options for raising more capital, including an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Sterling Grace is made up of financial planning firm Spicers, investment managers Arcus and administration service provider Assure, as well as Monitor Money in Australia.

Currently the group has about A$2.6 bill in funds under management.

The company is currently 73% owned by US investment group Sterling Grace.

Sterling Grace Portfolio Management has an information memorandum in the market place as part of its capital raising exercise.

The company's default position is that it will do an IPO and list on the ASX with a secondary listing in New Zealand.

However, because of uncertain market conditions a likely IPO has been put back from the fourth quarter of this year to early next year. Also the company is keeping its options including staying as a private company or getting a new cornerstone shareholder instead of proceeding with an IPO.

A new cornerstone shareholder could be either a private equity group, a firm currently in the business or a group of high net worth individuals.

Capital raised would be used to fund expansion including the buy-out of the 50% of Monitor Money the group doesn't own.

Sterling Grace took a 50% stake in Monitor Money's parent, Invest Assure 18 months ago is now moving to full ownership.

The business is evenly split between Australia and New Zealand at present, however the local business accounts for about two thirds of revenue.

Sterling Grace says future growth will come in Australia, hence its desire to list on the ASX.

UBS Warburg has been appointed as advisers to the deal.

Former Spicers boss Craig Dawson left the company earlier this year.

You can read Philip's blog here: http://www.goodreturns.co.nz/blog/

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ANZ Special - 5.39 5.39 5.79
ASB Bank 6.75 5.99 5.99 6.39
ASB Bank Special - 5.59 5.39 5.59
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BNZ - TotalMoney 6.74 - - -
Credit Union Auckland 6.70 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 6.45 5.95 5.99 -
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Housing NZ Corp 6.74 5.70 6.09 6.29
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HSBC Special - 5.29 5.29 5.29
ICBC 6.75 5.99 6.39 -
Kiwibank 6.65 5.69 6.09 6.29
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