Investment group Guinness Peat Group Ltd today (16 June) revealed plans to split off its businesses in Australia and eventually list its Coats thread unit on the London stock market.

The plans would "unlock value" for shareholders, the company said, and come after an extensive strategic review.

But chairman Sir Ron Brierley stressed the Coats floatation will only happen "when the time is right" but is likely to be within the next two years.

GPB bought British thread and zip maker Coats Plc back in 2003, and says that while its turnaround has taken longer than expected, the unit is now pursuing a growth strategy under new chief executive Paul Forman.

The company says it is pleased with the manner in which Coats responded to the global financial crisis in 2009 and its much improved performance in the 2010 year to date.