Per Steinar Norum and Heather Susan Norum of Norway, have been refused approval to acquire 104 hectares at Waimatenui Road, Kaikohe, Northland for $573,750 from GJ and JN Simpson of Aotearoa. The land “includes/adjoins land that exceeds 0.4 hectares which is provided as a reserve, a public park, for recreation purposes, or a private open space”.
The application was refused because
Ministers were not satisfied that the proposal was in the national interest as the acquisition of the subject property was unlikely to result in substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand or to a region, district, locality, or other part of New Zealand.
According to the OIC,
The proposed transaction is essentially a family financing transaction (Mrs Norum from Norway is Mrs Simpson’s (the New Zealand vendor’s) sister). It involves the sale of the property to the Applicants and a 5 year lease back to the vendors with a subsequent first right of re-purchase. The Simpson’s proposed to re-purchase the farm once their financial position enabled them to do so within a 5 year timeframe. The proposal will enable the Simpson’s to acquire a larger farm property and expand their farming business. The transaction was also meant to continue to develop the subject property by retiring existing debt and provide access to further development capital. This was supposedly going to lead to an increase in stock carrying capacity and productivity on the subject property. The subject property is currently being developed as a dairy grazing and finishing block in conjunction with a leased farm. The leased property has been placed on the market which has resulted in the vendors needing to ensure that the subject property is developed to its full potential.
The proposal was likely to provide additional capital to the New Zealand vendor’s to enable them to acquire a larger farm property and expand their farming business.
[Decision number 200320108.]
ING Property Trust has approval to acquire 1.066 hectares at 180-202 Hutt Road, Kaiwharawhara, Wellington for $282,745,885 from MFL Mutual Fund and SIL Mutual Fund (which are owned 98.70% by small shareholders in Aotearoa, 0.89% in Australia, and 0.41% by “other overseas persons”).
According to the OIC, ING is acquiring a much larger commercial property portfolio, but most don’t require OIC approval:
The Applicant, who is a unit trust listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, is proposing to acquire a portfolio of 71 commercial properties from two superannuation funds, the MFL Mutual Fund and the SIL Mutual Fund. Of the properties being acquired only one is land as defined in the Overseas Investment Regulations 1995. The acquisition presents the Applicant with the opportunity to fulfil its objective of seeking to grow its asset base and income through acquisitions. Following the acquisition it is likely that the Applicant will rationalise the portfolio through the sale of some properties. This is to ensure that the Applicant’s portfolio is consistent with their optimum property mix.
ING Property Trust requires OIC approval even though it is apparently owned in Aotearoa: 99.72% of its shares are owned in Aotearoa and the other 0.28% in Australia according to the OIC. However, it is not controlled here: “The manager of the ING Property Trust, ING Property Trust Management Limited, is an overseas person.” ING Property Trust Management also manages the MFL and SIL funds, so controls both sides of the transaction.
The deal, which made ING Property Trust (formerly the Paramount Property Trust) the third largest property trust in Aotearoa, met opposition from MFL shareholders, but in the end succeeded. 25 of the smaller and lower value properties were later sold (New Zealand Herald, “ING Property Trust achieves record profit”, 21/5/04). The purchase adds to an existing $85.5 million stock of buildings in Auckland.
ING Property Trust Management is owned by ING (NZ) and Symphony Investments. ING (NZ) is 51% owned by ING (one of the largest insurance, banking and asset management groups in the world) and 49% by ANZ Bank. Symphony Investments is 47% owned by Robin Congreve and 23.6% by private equity fund Oceania and Eastern Securities (New Zealand Herald, “Fund investors join forces against ING”, by Anne Gibson, 26/11/2003). ING employs 120 staff in New Zealand, and operates in 65 countries with more than NZ$1.5 trillion in assets (Press, “ING in $282m property deal”, by Jillian Talbot, 10/11/2003, p.B6). [Decision number 200320099.]
Ronin of Australia takes 30% of AMP NZ Office Trust and 50% of its manager
In two decisions almost completely suppressed until released on appeal in March 2004, Ronin Property Trust of Australia has approval to acquire
· up to 30% of AMP NZ Office Trust for $130,975,000 [Decision number 200320095], and
· up to 50% of its manager for $2,700,000 [Decision number 200320096],
both from AMP Henderson Global Investors (New Zealand) Limited which is owned 89% in Australia and 11% in Aotearoa. It owns considerable central business district office property including 0.84 hectares at 188 Quay Street and 29 Customs Street, Auckland.
According to the OIC,
The Ronin Property Group is an Australian listed property funds management business specialising in the ownership and management of prime real estate investments. It has interests in premium and A-grade office buildings in Australia. The proposal to acquire 30% of AMP NZ Office Trust [and the proposal to acquire 50% of the shares in the manager of the AMP NZ Office Trust] represents increased geographic, tenant and asset diversification for Ronin's security holders.
Ronin is in fact the Australian counterpart of AMP NZ Office Trust, which specialises in investment in office block property and which states on its web site:
Ronin was created in 2003 from Australia's AMP Office Trust, ANZO's counterpart. Ronin has assets under management of about AUD$2.0 billion, with an investment portfolio comprising 12 prime office investments in seven of Australia's major office markets, with a bias towards Sydney.
The manager of AMP NZ Office Trust is now AMP Ronin Management Limited. It is owned jointly by AMP Capital Investors (New Zealand) Ltd and Ronin Property Group (see http://www.anzo.co.nz/ManagementGovernance/ManagementGovernance.asp)
In a decision almost completely suppressed until released on appeal in March 2004, Macquarie Goodman Management Limited, owned 40.14% by Macquarie Bank Ltd of Australia, 40.63% by other shareholders in Australia, and 19.23% by the Goodman Family of Aotearoa, has approval to acquire up to 100% of “Colonial First State Property (NZ) Limited or any other company which is 100% owned by Colonial First State Investments (NZ) Limited and which is the manager of the Colonial First State Property Trust” for $5,200,000 from Colonial First State Investments (NZ) Limited owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The company owns 3.4 hectares comprising:
· 2.7 hectares at 41 Nesdale Avenue, Manukau City, Auckland; and
· 0.68 hectares at 60-70 Stanley Street, Auckland.
According to the OIC,
The Applicant (MGM) is an Australian listed funds management, property development, management and investment company. The Macquarie Goodman Industrial Trust, managed by the Applicant, owns a property portfolio in New Zealand…
The proposed acquisition will continue the growth of the Applicant's management business in the New Zealand market. The Applicant proposes to fold its existing New Zealand property management business into the ongoing CSFP property management business allowing both Trusts to diversify their investments.
[Decision number 200320106.]
In a decision almost completely suppressed until released on appeal in March 2004, Origin Energy Resources NZ Limited, owned by Origin Energy Limited of Australia, has approval to acquire a 50% interest in Petroleum Mining Licence 38146 (in Taranaki) and in the Kupe Joint Venture for $33,000.000 from Genesis Power Investments Limited owned by The Crown.
According to the OIC,
The Applicant is a diversified energy company with interests in the oil and gas exploration and production, gas distribution and retailing and electricity generation and retailing, it has operations throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region. The Applicant is proposing to acquire a 50% interest in Petroleum Mining Licence 38146 and the Kupe Joint Venture, it is proposed that the Applicant will operate the Kupe Joint Venture to carry out exploration, development and the production of petroleum.
[Decision number 200320109.]
Holcim of Switzerland buys 41% of Atlas ready mixed concrete
Holcim (New Zealand) Limited, owned 64% in minority shareholdings in Switzerland, 27.1% by Thomas Schmidheiny of Switzerland, and 8.9% by the Capital Group Companies of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire up to 41.14% of Atlas Resources Limited for $23,181,084 from Wayne and Elaine Collie of Aotearoa.
The purchase includes
· 546.5885 hectares of freehold land in North Auckland comprising:
o 28.5172 hectares at Tinopai Road, Kaipara;
o 156.4117 hectares at State Highway 1, Brynderwyn, Kaipara
o 2.783 hectares at State Highway 1, Warkworth;
o 7.96 hectares at 215 Kaipara Coast Highway, Helensville;
o 3.0619 hectares at Titan Place, Silverdale;
o 1.8547 hectares at Main Road (State Highway 16), Kumeu;
o 90 hectares at Tinopai Road, Kaipara;
o 39 hectares at Tinopai Road, Kaipara;
o 38 hectares at State Highway 1, Brynderwyn, Kaipara; and
o 179 hectares at State Highway 1, Brynderwyn, Kaipara;
· 0.6085 hectares of leasehold at 215 Kaipara Coast Highway, Helensville; and
· 56.8591 hectares of Licence at Tinopai Road, Kaipara.
Atlas, says the OIC,
through its operating divisions and subsidiaries, is involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of cement and ready mixed concrete, and the extraction, processing and sale of aggregate and limestone. It has operated in New Zealand for over 115 years and has established positions within these markets.
The Applicant is proposing to acquire shares carrying 41.145% of the voting rights in Atlas Resources Limited. Atlas’s core businesses include the manufacture and distribution of ready mixed concrete, the extraction and processing of aggregate and pre-cast tilt slab manufacturing. Atlas operates in the Auckland and Northland regions. The Applicant has a long standing relationship with Atlas through its cement supply business. The proposal is likely to realise synergies between the two operations with Atlas operating predominantly in the residential market and the Applicant in both the residential and the larger volume commercial market.
The purchase was cleared by the Commerce Commission (“Commerce Commission clears Holcim to acquire Atlas”, Media Release 2003/66, 21/11/03). According to the Commerce Commission, “Atlas operates five ready-mixed concrete plants in Auckland and one in Northland. Through its subsidiary Mt Rex Shipping, Atlas is also involved in the extraction and distribution of sand and aggregates to the Auckland and Northland regional markets.”
Holcim was formerly called Milburn New Zealand Limited. Its parent company, Holcim Limited, “is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement, aggregates and concrete”, according to the OIC.
[Decision number 200320098.]
B Digital Limited, owned 88.77% by the Seven Network Limited of Australia and 11.23% by minority shareholders in Australia, has approval to acquire Digiplus Investments Limited for $80,400,000 from its two existing shareholders, Kildare Assets Limited and Nordan Limited, both of Australia, and both with 50% of Digiplus.
The Applicant is an Australian telecommunications company providing carrier providing mobile telephone services to consumers in Australia. It sells handsets and provides call access under service contracts. It currently has no business activities in New Zealand. Digiplus operates in New Zealand and primarily in Australia, where it offers local, national and international and mobile telephone calls and internet services.
B Digital’s main shareholder, the Seven Network, is a major media company in Australia. In July 2001 it acquired 50% of PMP Limited for A$65 million. PMP publishes New Idea, That’s Life, B, TV Hits, Girlfriend, K-Zone, and New Zealand Weddings in New Zealand. Its New Zealand subsidiary, PMP New Zealand consists of PMP Print, PMP Distribution, PMP Pinpoint and PMP Digital, with capability for printing, letterbox delivery, marketing analysis and customer segmentation as well as premedia services. PMP Print (formerly Bascands and Adams Print) is one of the largest printers in New Zealand with major printing operations in Christchurch and Auckland; PMP Distribution is a registered postal operator and letterbox advertising specialist. PMP was formerly a News Ltd company but News Ltd sold its 40% shareholding in PMP to institutions in July 1997. The Seven Network, chaired by Kerry Stokes, controls five metropolitan and one regional television licence in Australia, with a potential audience reach of 72% of the population. It also has a number of pay TV interests, including a 33% stake in Sky News (Australia). Stokes is the largest shareholder, with 34%.
[Decision number 200320102.]
BG Hotels (Queenstown) Limited, owned by Lloyd Berger of Australia, has approval to acquire 0.6713 hectares at Queenstown Park Royal, Beach Street, Queenstown, Otago for $22,100,000 from Wedson Holdings Limited.
BG Hotels “is an Australian hotel investment company which owns two hotels both managed by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)”. It “proposes to acquire the Parkroyal Queenstown which is also operated by IHG. The Applicant proposes to undertake a refurbishment and expansion of the hotel. It is also proposed to rebrand the hotel and fully integrate the hotel with IHG marketing schemes.”
Wedson is owned as follows:
30% - Darwin Pacific Corporation, Malaysia
20% - Brian Chang, Singapore
10% - Chardon Inc, Singapore
10% –Graeme Morris Todd, Aotearoa
10% - Airtrust (New Zealand) Limited, Singapore
10% - Surin Upapatthang Koon, Malaysia
10% - Anton Suleiman, Indonesia.
[Decision number 200320103.]
Global Technology Connection New Zealand Limited, owned 50% each by Eric G Grant and Michael A Putnam, both of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire 16 hectares at 157-159 Hallet Road, Otariki, Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, for $4,612,500 from Eternal Water New Zealand 2002 Limited of Aotearoa.
The purchase is in order to bottle spring water from an underground aquifer.
According to the OIC,
“The Applicant is a subsidiary of a worldwide distribution company. The Applicant proposes to acquire the business assets including the subject property from the vendor. A water bottling and water processing plant and warehouse are located on the property which contains a spring that drawing on an underground aquifer. The Applicant proposes to continue with the water extraction and bottling activities on the property. The facilities on the property are currently non-operational. The Applicant is proposing to re-commence the business and expand the distribution channels of the bottled water. The proposed acquisition represents an opportunity for the Applicant’s group to establish a new product line in the high end consumable product range.”
[Decision number 200320097.]
Telecom Mobile Limited has approval to acquire 0.0021 hectares of leasehold at Ocean View Road, Matiatia Bay, Waiheke Island, Auckland for a suppressed amount from Waitemata Infrastructure Limited of New Zealand. According to the OIC, “This application is part of the overall general programme of Mobile Network site acquisitions by Telecom Mobile Limited. Telecom proposes to establish this cell site on Waiheke Island to expand its cellular network coverage.”
Telecom Mobile is owned as follows:
27.25% - minor shareholdings in the U.S.A.
23.49% - minor shareholdings in Australia
15.91% - minor shareholdings in the U.K.
15.15% - persons who may be “overseas persons”
18.2% - minor shareholdings in Aotearoa
[Decision number 200320110.]
Juken Nissho Limited, owned 85% by Juken Sangyo Company Limited and 15% by Nissho Iwai Corporation, both of Japan, has approval to acquire up to 50% of Radiata Rock Limited, which owns 10 hectares of profit à prendre (rights to take – in this case, roading metal) at Kokohu Road, Nuhaka, Hawkes Bay, for $158,000 from Olsen and Company Ltd of Aotearoa. According to the OIC,
The Commission granted consent for Radiata Rock Limited to acquire a profit a prendre over 10 hectares of land in Kotuku Road, Nuhaka on 7 August 2000. Olsen and Company Limited have now decided to withdraw from the arrangement as their requirements for the quarry material is reducing. The Applicant proposes to acquire the 50% shareholding from Olsen and Company Limited. The quarry provides a supply of roading metal to enable the Applicant to complete forest roading and maintenance requirements in the district.
At the time of the 2000 approval, Juken Nissho had “some 15,000 hectares” of forestry in the region. [Decision number 200320101.]
· Pace Forestry Investments Limited, owned 25% each by Jeh Guet Jane Tan and Chong Yan Tan, 12.5% jointly by Ser Hai Ng and Mew Foon Kong, 10% each by Wui Choi John Lie and Phoon Yun Seow, and 5% by Soon Kuan Chang, all of Singapore, and 12.5% jointly by Peng Chye Tan and Emily Tan of Aotearoa, has approval to acquire 44 hectares at Tawhero Estate, Masterton, Wairarapa for $315,000 from DSM Land Limited of Aotearoa. According to the OIC, “The Applicant proposes to acquire a forestry block growing pinus radiata which is part of a larger forestry block being sub-divided by the vendor. On average the trees are 7-8 years old. The vendor will continue to manage the block in terms of a management agreement and the Applicant will provide capital to fund the on-going development of the forestry block. In essence the proposal is a joint venture between the Applicants providing capital for development purposes and a New Zealand company providing the expertise and management of the operation. The land being acquired is part of a larger property owned by the vendor who intends to develop a total of approximately 1,226 hectares into forestry. To date 340 hectares have been planted and this proposed sale will provide capital to the vendors to further develop the forest on the remaining land.” The last such sale by DSM was in April 2002, and there was one before that in March 2002 – see our commentaries for those months for further details. [Decision number 200320104.]
· Negociants New Zealand Limited, owned in Australia by Samuel Smith and Son Pty Limited, has approval to acquire 20 hectares at Mahers Road, Marlborough for $3,200,000 (“plus GST, if any”) from Beechwood Vineyard Limited of Aotearoa. “The Applicant is part of a group of companies, the parent of which is an Australian company Samuel Smith and Son Pty. Limited. The Samuel Smith companies are collectively known as Yalumba Winery. Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family owned winery based in the Barossa Valley region of Australia. The Samuel Smith group of companies has largely been involved in the production and marketing of wines produced by the company. The company also markets wines produced by other vineyards both in Australia and outside Australia. The Applicant is the New Zealand arm of the Smith companies. Its business has two distinct but inter-related parts being the production of quality New Zealand wines under the Nautilus/Twin Island brands and the business of a negociant of fine wines. The Applicant proposes to acquire the subject property to provide for additional Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes to meet increased sales demand both domestically and internationally. Currently 8.5 hectares of the property are planted and the balance is currently being developed by the vendor.” [Decision number 200320100.]
· David John Dance of the U.K. and Angelika Diana Sophia Mollman of Germany (50% each) have approval to acquire 6.6 hectares at 38 Raratu Road, Hastings, Hawkes Bay for $440,000 from Tony David Price and Marie Kay Price of Aotearoa. “The Applicants, who are currently New Zealand Long Term Business Visa holders, are applying for New Zealand permanent residency under the Skilled Migrant category. They propose to acquire a lifestyle property situated near Hastings for their residence. The property is part of a subdivision of a larger block of land. Ms Mollmann is a registered midwife (an occupation on the New Zealand Immigration Service’s Priority Occupation List), and has employment with the Hawkes Bay District Health Board. The Applicants are demonstrating a commitment to New Zealand through applying for and taking up New Zealand permanent residency.” [Decision number 200320107.]
· Patrick Alan Lomax and Fiona Ruth Clark of the U.K. have approval to acquire 3.8 hectares at State Highway 6, Luggate to Cromwell, Otago for $292,500 from Trophy Ridge Limited of Aotearoa. “The Applicants are proposing to apply for New Zealand permanent residency under the Long Term Business Visa category. They propose to acquire a lifestyle property situated near Cromwell. The Applicants intend to construct a dwelling and reside permanently on the property. The Applicants intend to operate a information technology consultancy business from New Zealand. The Applicants are demonstrating a commitment to New Zealand through applying for and taking up New Zealand permanent residency.” The land “exceeds 0.4 hectares and includes/adjoins a lake the bed of which exceeds 8 hectares in area”. [Decision number 200320105.]
This month’s statistics show preliminary data for the full 2003 calendar year. Gross investment is a huge increase on 2002: $13.7 billion compared to $7.3 billion, an increase of $6.4 billion or over 80%. However the “net” investment (after taking account of sales from one overseas buyer to another, and discounting part New Zealand ownership of the assets) is considerably smaller, though still over $1.6 billion for the year. For December 2003 it was recorded as negative. By far the greatest part of the value of the approvals for the year was for sale from one overseas investor to another. Five decisions had material suppressed from them by the OIC before release and one application was refused this month.
Investment involving land
Sales of land approved by the OIC in the year to December have decreased markedly from the previous year in both number and area, and sales in December were small – only 644 hectares. Refusals (above) were one less in 2003 than in 2002 (8 against 9), and are a tiny proportion of the total by number, value and area.
Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa,
P. O. Box 2258