How the Rich Invest: Gerry Harvey’s retail investments go beyond Harvey Norman

Gerry Harvey’s retail investments go further than the Harvey Norman group that has made him a billionaire.

Among his portfolio of listed retail stocks is New Zealand retailer Briscoe Group, headed by Harvey’s fellow Australian Financial Review Rich List member Rod Duke.

Duke controls about 80 per cent of Briscoe stock and recently moved to have the company dual-listed on the ASX to try to broaden its shareholder base and take advantage of any opportunities that may come up.

That could include another tilt at retailer Kathmandu, Duke recently admitted. Briscoe owns 19.9 per cent of Kathmandu and Duke said would not rule out another tilt at the company he tried to buy two years ago.

Harvey holds 30.7 per cent of Harvey Norman and his wife Katie Page owns 1.5 per cent. Both run a tight ship at the furniture, whitegoods and electrical goods giant.

Duke moved to New Zealand almost 30 years ago to take the helm at Briscoe. Its businesses include Briscoes Homeware, Living & Giving and Rebel Sport (New Zealand).

Harvey is Briscoe’s second biggest shareholder, owning a stake worth about $NZ20 million ($18.7 million). Briscoe shares are up about 20 per cent in the past 12 months, but are worth about the same now as they were in January after rising and then falling during the year.

Though the bulk of his wealth is found in Harvey Norman, the retail giant of which he is executive chairman, Harvey has a mixed big of smaller retailer stocks in his portfolio.

He has a stake in the listed toy retailer Funtastic, which is down 41 per cent since January 1, and Gazal Corporation, which is celebrating its 50th year and sells men’s clothing brands such as Van Huesen and Calvin Klein. Gazal shares have tracked sideways this year.

Better performance

Harvey has had a better performance from some of the other stocks in his portfolio, though Countplus – which counts another Rich Lister in Barry Lambert as a shareholder – is down 39 per cent since January 1.

Shares in DWS, an IT consulting services firm, are up 16 per cent since the beginning of the year and about 18 per cent over 12 months. Emeco shares, meanwhile, are up a whopping 98 per cent compared  with January 1.

Harvey’s name sits alongside yet another Rich Lister in Dale Elphinstone on the share register of Emeco, a provider of equipment and services to mining companies.

Then there is Harvey Norman. Harvey is an outspoken figure, but has faced criticism about the company’s accounts and its treatment of losses by its franchises.

Harvey holds 30.7 per cent of Harvey Norman and his wife Katie Page owns 1.5 per cent. Both run a tight ship at the furniture, whitegoods and electrical goods giant.

However, the Harvey Norman share price dropped 32 per cent from October to June, at one point wiping $570 million from Harvey’s shareholding. The company is down 14 per cent in the year so far, but it has risen 16 per cent in the past month.

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