Name change severs link with Sir Ron

By Liam Dann

Another connection between one of New Zealand's oldest listed companies and its founder, Sir Ron Brierley, was cut yesterday as BIL International changed its name to GuocoLeisure.

BIL - formerly Brierley Investments Ltd - is now Singapore based but remains listed on the NZX.

It was founded by Brierley in 1961 with a brief to acquire substantial shareholdings in Australian and New Zealand listed companies.

Through the 1970s and 1980s it acquired a reputation throughout Australasia as a fearsome corporate raider.

By the time of the stock market crash in 1987, BIL had made many global investments with shareholdings in more than 300 companies, and 160,000 New Zealanders held shares in the company.

In a letter to shareholders, BIL said the name change was to better reflect its core investments - which include the Thistle and Guoman Hotel chains. The company is also developing casino operations in the United Kingdom.

After the 1987 crash BIL was heavily restructured to focus on a smaller number of assets with a core of trading subsidiaries and associated companies.

In March 2001, on the 40th anniversary of BIL's founding, Brierley retired from the board of directors. He remains founder president, which is an appointment for life.

The company's issuer "ticker" code BRY will change to GLL.

Its shares closed unchanged at $1.23 yesterday.

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