Briscoe Group's cautious and methodical approach to making investments or acquisitions won't be cast aside with the retailer's plan to seek a secondary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange, says chair Rosanne Meo.
Last week, the company said it would apply to list on the ASX as a foreign exempt entity but wasn't planning on raising new capital, with the dual-listing seen as expanding investor interest and broadening the shareholder base. Briscoe is controlled by managing director Rod Duke, who owns more than three-quarters of the country's biggest retailer, and 91 per cent of the stock is held by 32 of Briscoe's 3,393 shareholders.
Meo told shareholders at today's annual meeting in Auckland that the ASX listing isn't driven by any "immediate expansion initiative" and that it would continue with its "disciplined and patient approach to investment", such as the 20 per cent stake in Kathmandu Holdings and subsequent takeover tilt where it refused to raise its offer despite pressure from the target company's shareholders and other market commentators.
"We believe that the greater visibility from a dual-listing will contribute to increased investor interest and a broader shareholder base which will increase our ability to take advantage of fresh opportunities that we identify," Meo said in speech notes published on the NZX. "The Kathmandu initiative also showed Rod's willingness to reduce his shareholding if it will enhance shareholder value - had Kathmandu accepted our offer, Rod would have held about 50 per cent of the merged entity."
Briscoe is sitting on more than $60 million of cash and is often seen as a potential bidder for retail assets, particularly with a number of chains failing in recent years as the rise of cheaper online trading undermines the traditional bricks-and-mortar model.
Meo said overseas markets were an opportunity for Briscoe to take its business "up a level", however the board was "very aware" that a number of New Zealand firms have struggled to get any traction internationally.
"Any expansion will be very carefully planned and thoroughly assessed," she said.
Briscoe shares were unchanged at $4, and have slipped 0.7 per cent so far this year.