By Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE, VIC: Clive Peeters is currently courting institutional investors, with the two primary shareholders both dumping shares in order to create a more horizontal ownership structure.

On 30 November 2009, managing director, Greg Smith and his business partner, Peter Lord, both lodged notices to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) detailing their combined liquidation of over $3 million worth of shares. In total, 6 million shares were sold at 56 cents each, totalling $3.36 million.

Smith told that this move was a result of external advice, and that similar moves towards greater external ownership of the listed retailer are now desirable.

“We were advised by the advisers that we use externally that our share register was far too illiquid, far too tightly held by the two major shareholders, of which I’m one, and that it would be sound to get a number of institutions back onto our register,” said Smith.

“It was put to us that it was in the best interests of the company to actually let a few go and get a number of institutions back to support the stock, which we have done, so we’re pleased that we’ve now got quite a large number of institutions back on the register.”

In a good sign for retail investors in Clive Peeters, Smith predicted that over time, as the company continues its renaissance, the level of ownership by these institutional investors will increase.

“Theoretically the idea behind that is that that’ll provide some buying support for the shares going forward as we put results on the board because they’re in there and hopefully want to take a stronger position as time goes by.”

Clive Peeters is currently trading at 54 cents.