Fisher & Paykel Appliances Sells Healthcare Stake to Pursue Growth
Feb 20, 2004
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Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Limited, a New Zealand appliance maker, announced that it has agreed to sell its 19.34-percent stake in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited.

The company said the sale of its Healthcare stake will allow Fisher & Paykel to focus its capital resources on its core Appliances and Finance businesses. Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt, which resulted from the company's acquisition of Farmers Finance last year. Excess funds will be returned to the company's shareholders by way of a special dividend and an on-market share buy-back. The on-market share buy-back is subject to all necessary approvals.

John Gilks, deputy chairman of Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Limited, said that the decision to proceed with a sale was made following a full review of the strategic options for the stake, and the sale represents the final stage of the successful separation of Fisher & Paykel Appliances and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

John Bongard, managing director, said that Fisher & Paykel is actively pursuing a range of exciting growth opportunities in key international markets, while continuing to build on its cornerstone home markets of New Zealand and Australia.

"The sale of the Fisher & Paykel Healthcare stake strengthens our balance sheet and provides us with further financial flexibility to capture these opportunities and drive growth in our core areas of expertise," Mr. Bongard said.

The company expects to announce the final outcome of the sale on Feb. 23.

Following the completion of the sale, the appliance maker intends to return up to approximately U.S. $140 million of the sale proceeds to its shareholders by way of a special dividend and an on-market share buy-back.

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