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Matthew Smith has been a business and financial journalist for more than a decade. He previously worked with the Financial Times Group, reporting from New York on company buyouts and refinancing in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. He started his career reporting on the funds management industry in Sydney.

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Hills divests, raises cash for new strategy

Published 20 February 2013 09:34, Updated 20 February 2013 11:06

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Hills divests, raises cash for new strategy

Looking to refocus ... Hills cheif Ted Pretty Photo:Louise Kennerley

Hills Holdings has completed the sale of one of the three businesses it has earmarked to hive off as part of its strategy to refocus.

The company announced it has sold its 48 per cent stake in pipe and galvanising business Korvest in a placement to institutional investors that raised $26 million in capital.

Hills, the brand behind the iconic Hills Hoist clothes line, will look to refocus and reinvest in its technology business under new CEO Ted Pretty.

Hills’s existing technology business – which includes communications, home security and surveillance systems – accounts for about a quarter of its $1.1 billion revenue.

Pretty says he is also in the process of finding buyers for roofing business Fielders and steel distributor and tube and pipe manufacturer Orrcon Steel

Hills has retained investment bank Lazard to complete the sale of the assets.

Hills stock rose about 4.5 per cent on the news on Tuesday.

“The market might have thought we were being indecisive on the asset sales, but this shows we are getting on with it and executing our strategy,” Pretty says.

He says he expects to reduce Hills’s revenue in an effort to increase margins. Including Korvest, the three assets earmarked for sale represent about half of the total revenue generated by Hills.