Kirks' shareholders poised for payout

  • 14/07/2015
Kirks' shareholders poised for payout

Kirkcaldie & Stains, the unprofitable Wellington-based department store owner, says its first distribution to shareholders pending the sale of the business to David Jones will be around $19.35 million or around $1.88 per share.

The shares jumped to $2.20 from $1.68 before the announcement.

The distribution amount is contained in a notice of special meeting of shareholders sent to the New Zealand stock exchange this afternoon.

South African-owned David Jones, which runs a chain of Australian department stores, will pay $A400,000 for the Kirkcaldie & Stains name and take over the lease of its store on Lambton Quay, Wellington, with the option to buy the retailer's assets for $500,000 within 25 working days.

The company's stock, valued at $8.3M as at May 31, is not included in the sale and the company plans to sell any remaining stock from its Thorndon Quay furniture store.

Shareholders will be asked to vote on two resolutions at the special meeting on July 31.

The first relates to the sale and the company ceasing to operate as a department store retail business after 152 years.

If the resolution fails, the company said the board would likely continue to explore options for a sale, it said in the notice.

If shareholders approve the sale, the only outstanding condition will be the purchaser gaining the necessary consents from the Overseas Investment Office by November 30.

The note says the board's legal advice is that no consents are required but the purchaser elected to be cautious and seek them anyway.

The second resolution relates to approving an early distribution of the surplus cash resulting from the sale of an inner-city building, the Harbour City Centre, adjacent to the Kirks' main store.

Because the amount equals the available subscribed capital of the company, it is deemed a major transaction under the Companies Act and requires a special resolution.

If the second resolution is passed, the company says matching the early distribution to the company's available subscribed capital means it can be received by shareholders tax-free.

A future distribution is expected when the company is liquidated and should also be tax-free. The board said the precise amount left over "is difficult to forecast".

David Jones has indicated it will offer employment to most of the existing staff but Kirkcaldie and Stains estimates its redundancy payments will be up to $2M.