Cushing family cash in $2.4m worth of PGG Wrightson shares

By Tamsyn Parker

The Cushing family has sold more than $2.4 million in PGG Wrightson shares in the wake of a big bounce-back in the rural service firm's financial performance.

Notices filed to the stock exchange by H&G Limited which is owned by Sir Selwyn Cushing and his son, David, show it has reduced its holding from 2,006,732 shares to 1,342,140 in a number of on-market trades in the last few weeks.

In August it sold $1.346m worth of shares and followed that up this week by cashing in a further $1.1m.

The share sales come after PGG Wrightson reported a 33 per cent lift in its annual operating result, based on solid performances across its businesses after the Covid-19 disruptions of the previous year.

The financial year started and finished strongly with year-end operating EBITDA at $56.0m, up $13.8m on last year's outcome.

Revenue came to $847.8m up $59.8m or 7.6 per cent, and the net profit after tax was $22.7m, up $15m.

The move comes after David Cushing retired from the board of PGG Wrightson, ending a two-year tenure as a director on April 30.

At the time PGW chairman Rodger Finlay thanked Cushing for his contribution as a director and for his leadership of the board's audit committee.

"David has been an integral part of the team which has turned around the business as manifested in the results."

H&G now owns less than 2 per cent of PGW's shares on issue.

The Cushing family has a long track record with PGG Wrightson.

In 2005, H&G sold into a Wrightson takeover of Hawkes Bay-based stock and station agency Williams & Kettle.

Selwyn Cushing subsequently joined Wrightson's board and stayed on as a director until 2012, overseeing the merger with Pyne Gould Guinness, the aborted Silver Fern Farms deal, and the introduction of Agria as a cornerstone in the business in 2009 when it bailed out the company.

David Cushing acted as an alternative Wrightson director for Agria executive chairman Alan Lai in 2010.

The Cushing family were estimated to be worth $300m on this year's NBR Rich List.

PGW shares were trading at $3.62 on close of trade on Thursday, up 33. 58 per cent in the last year.

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