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GPG changes stocks for cash

THE NEW ZEALAND tycoon, Ron Brierley, is feeling bearish and has cut the stock market exposure and boosted liquidity of his Guinness Peat Group in the face of volatile stock markets and the Asian crisis.

This year GPG's cash holdings have risen from pounds 28m to pounds 57m after accepting bids for its holdings in Bluebird Toys, Allgas Energy and PICO Holdings. Profits on sales helped to lift net half-year earnings by 30 per cent to pounds 12.2m. Mr Brierley says the outlook for GPG is "very favourable".