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Michael Hill International intends to go public in Australia, the market that accounts for more than 60 per cent of its operating earnings
Michael Hill International intends to go public in Australia, the market that accounts for more than 60 per cent of its operating earnings

Michael Hill confirms ASX intentions

Michael Hill International will proceed with an Australian stock exchange listing, a move that seemingly completes the New Zealand-founded company’s migration across the Tasman.

After announcing in January this year that a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) was being considered, Michael Hill International (MHI) has confirmed it intends to formalise the move with a Scheme of Arrangement.

Emma Hill, Michael Hill International chair
Emma Hill, Michael Hill International chair

The scheme will allow the new, incorporated Australian parent company to acquire all MHI shares through a one-to-one share exchange.

MHI chair Emma Hill explained that the company would maintain its current presence on the NZX New Zealand stock exchange but would have its primary listing on the ASX.

“Over time this will provide the company with direct access to a wider group of investors than we currently enjoy and we believe this will be to the benefit of all of our shareholders,” she said.

“On a day-to-day basis, we will have all of our governance, executive and business operations operating in one jurisdiction and this will considerably simplify our structure.”

MHI was founded in Whangarei, New Zealand in 1979; however, the company headquarters relocated to Brisbane, Australia in 2005.

Mike Parsell, Michael Hill International CEO
Mike Parsell, Michael Hill International CEO

The 166 Michael Hill and 10 Emma & Roe stores in Australia are said to represent about 60 per cent of the company’s global presence, and in the 2014–2015 financial year, these Australian stores generated more than 60 per cent of MHI’s earnings before interest and tax.

Company CEO Mike Parsell told Jeweller the recent decision was a “natural progression” of the business.

“Since 2000, the company has progressively become more Australia-centric and this is just the last piece of that migration,” he said. “The board feels it’s the right time and in the company’s best interest to consider the listing now, although it remains up to the shareholders to approve the decision in June.”

In addition to MHI shareholder approval, the proposal is subject to clearance from the New Zealand High Court.

MHI has 293 Michael Hill-branded stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US and 11 Emma & Roe-branded stores in Australia and New Zealand.

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