MPM Trust, owned by David Ehrlich Grober of the U.S.A., has been refused approval to acquire 6.5 hectares at 226 Moke Lake Road, Queenstown, Otago for $985,000 from Ray Drayton of Aotearoa.
The OIC states:
The Applicant is a trust formed by Mr David Ehrlich Grober. Mr Grober is the president of the marine production company in the United States of America called “Motion Picture Marine” specialising in maritime motion picture services. Mr Grober has co-ordinated ocean sequences for movies and commercials. Mr Grober was elected to membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Directors’ Guild of America and Screen Actors’ Guild.
Mr Grober has also invented a camera stabilisation system (Perfect Horizon) which is used in film production. The Perfect Horizon System has been used in a number of New Zealand based projects, such as the America’s Cup 2003, the feature film “Without a Paddle”, and commercials featuring Nissan Exterra and Red Bull. According to Mr Grober, the recent approval of a film studio in Queenstown and an increasing demand for motion picture technology in New Zealand has led Motion Picture Marine and Mr Grober to explore a more permanent presence and base of operations in New Zealand.
The Applicant proposes to acquire the subject property, which is currently utilised as a bed and breakfast accommodation operation, as a base for film production related activities, for ongoing research and development, and the hiring of filming equipment. The property will also be utilised as a residence for Mr Grober whilst he is in New Zealand and as executive accommodation, incorporating a screening room and basic editing facilities, for overseas film makers.
The proposal does not meet the lifestyle policy which requires an applicant:
(a) to be taking up New Zealand permanent residency with 12 months of the date of approval; or
(b) to be undertaking significant developments on the property and converting it from a lifestyle property into a viable investment property; or
(c) to have significant investments in New Zealand.
[Decision number 200420023.]
Pacific Retail Group sells Noel Leeming, Big Byte and Bond & Bond to Gresham
Noel Leeming Group Limited (formerly Retail Investments Group Limited), owned by Gresham Private Equity Limited of Australia as manager of the Gresham Private Equity Fund 2 and the Gresham Private Equity Co-Investment Fund, has approval to acquire the assets and operations of Noel Leeming, Noel Leeming Furniture, Big Byte and Bond & Bond for $138,500,000 from Pacific Retail Group Limited, owned in Aotearoa. The four brands make up one of the largest appliance and consumer electronic goods retailers in the country.
The OIC states:
The Applicant is a special purpose investment vehicle incorporated by Gresham Private Equity Limited (GPE), in its capacity as manager of the Gresham Partners Limited private equity trusts. GPE manages Australian institutional and retail investment funds which are proposing to invest in the Applicant. GPE is a wholly-owned member of the Australian investment banking group, Gresham Partners Limited.
The Applicant has been established to purchase certain business and assets from Pacific Retail Limited (PRL), in connection with the business of importing and selling consumer technology and appliances, furniture, computers and related goods under the Noel Leeming, Noel Leeming Furniture, Big Byte and Bond & Bond brands in New Zealand.
In its report to shareholders for the six months ended 30 September 2004, Pacific Retail recorded a gain on the sale of $92.2 million, after allowing for sale costs. The company is controlled by Eric Watson who has been building up his shareholding in the company, reaching 81.5% in November 2004; by the same time, the major France-based insurance company AXA had built up an 11% shareholding (Sunday Star Times, “AXA stands in way of Watson’s ‘creep’”, by Tim Hunter, 21/11/04).
[Decision number 200420018.]
Kangaroo Island Sealink Pty Limited of Australia has approval to acquire Subritzky Wharves Limited and Subritzky Coromandel Limited, including 6.1 hectares of leasehold for $16,355,423 from Subritzky Limited and Subritzky Maritime Holdings Limited of Aotearoa.
The leasehold land comprises
· 1.1 hectares at Marine Square, Victoria Wharf, Devonport, Auckland; and
· 5 hectares at Te Kouma Headland, Coromandel Peninsula, Coromandel
The acquired Subritzky companies operate a ferry business around the Hauraki Gulf, including the car ferry to Waiheke Island:
The Applicant proposes to acquire the passenger, vehicle and freight ferry service business, including the land, land use rights, ferries and other assets, currently owned and operated by Subritzky Limited and Subritzky Maritime Holdings Limited (the vendors). The vendors own and operate the Subritzky passenger, vehicle and freight ferry business on and around the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland.
The Applicant owns and operates the Kangaroo Island SeaLink ferry business in South Australia. The SeaLink Group of Companies also operates travel agencies in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and operates coach touring on Kangaroo Island and around South Australia. The proposed acquisition is consistent with the Applicant's strategy to grow its business by focussing on its core expertise as a tourism, transport and technology company. The Applicant's aim is to grow the business by the introduction of a tourist focus to the business rather than a transport focus as is currently the case.
[Decision number 200420024.]
Macquarie Goodman (Highbrook) Limited and Macquarie Goodman Funds Management Limited (as manager of the Macquarie Goodman Industrial Trust), owned 20% by Macquarie Bank Ltd of Australia, 70% by other shareholders in Australia, and 10% by the Goodman Family of Aotearoa, have approval to acquire 75% of Highbrook Development Limited for $68,389,158 from existing shareholders.
Highbrook owns 153 hectares at Highbrook Drive, East Tamaki, Auckland.
The OIC states:
The Macquarie Goodman Industrial Trust (MGI) and Macquarie Goodman Management Limited (MGM) are acquiring 37.5% each of the shares in Highbrook Development Limited (Highbrook), which owns the subject land. The sale of the shares by Highbrook will enable Highbrook to complete its vision, with the injection of additional capital, of creating a business park catering for retail, bulk retail, business, office and warehouse premises. The Applicants advise that the proposed acquisition ensures the strategic availability of prime industrial land which fits well with their development pipeline within the Auckland market.
Highbrook Development was until the purchase, owned as follows:
· 68.8% by Lady Joyce Fisher, Anthony John James Agar, Graeme Louis Collinson, Frederick Nelson Watson and Noel Stuart Robinson as trustees of the estate of the late Sir Woolf Fisher;
· 15.6% by Susan Jane Robinson, Anthony Clive Sodlant and Noel Stuart Robinson as trustees of the Masai Mara Trust;
· 7.8% by Anna Nathan, Michael Murray Benjamin and Paul Nathan as trustees of the Oliver Nathan Trust; and
· 7.8% Anna Nathan
all of Aotearoa.
[Decision number 200420015.]
Awassi (N.Z.) Limited, owned 80% by George Antonios Assaf of Australia and 20% by Hmood Al Ali Al Khalaf of Saudi Arabia, has approval to acquire 385 hectares of leasehold at 5494 State Highway 50, Tikokino, Hawkes Bay for $313,913 from Gerard Fear Hare Sainsbury and Margaret Elizabeth Sainsbury of Aotearoa.
The approval is a retrospective one dating back to 1998: the OIC states that
The Applicant entered into a lease of the subject property from 1 July 1998 for a term of three years plus a further three years right of renewal. The lease expired on 30 June 2004 and has not been renewed or extended. Consent was not obtained by the Applicant at the time of entering the lease due to an oversight by the Applicant’s then legal advisor.
The Applicant is part of the Awassi group of companies that is one of the largest importers of live sheep and cattle into Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and Gulf countries. It has been operating in New Zealand since 1989. The subject property has been farmed in conjunction with the Applicant’s existing farming operation of the group that involves the breeding and grazing of sheep for the purposes of live and carcass export.
The Applicant has previously obtained consent from the Commission to acquire properties totalling 3,349.6135 hectares.
Companies associated with Assaf and Khalaf have received approvals from the OIC for land purchases in 1995, 1997 (two), 2000 and 2003. The last decision was in June 2003, when Awassi NZ Land Holdings Limited, owned 90% by Hmood Al Ali Al Khalf (sic) and 10% by George Antonios Assaf, gained approval to acquire 1,626 hectares at Otora Station, Te Uri Road, Central Hawkes Bay for $2,362,500. See our commentary for that month for further details.
[Decision number 200420022.]
· Northbank Wine Estates Limited, owned 50% by Joseph Larter, Andrew Michael Larter and Christopher Donald Freemantle as trustees of the Joseph Trust, and 50% by Barrie Rayner Mangos and Michelle June Mangos, has approval to acquire 1.9 hectares at Kaituna-Tuamarina Road, Blenheim, Marlborough for $94,103 from David Jerome Brooke-Taylor and Rebecca Jayne Hutching of Aotearoa. The OIC states: “The Applicant proposes to acquire the subject property, which is being subdivided by the vendor, and amalgamate it with a 7.955 hectare vineyard property already owned by the Applicant. The Applicant proposes to develop the subject property as a vineyard, to be planted with Sauvignon Blanc, to operate in conjunction with its existing vineyard.” In May 2000, J. Larter of the U.K. gained approval to acquire up to 50% of Northbank Wine Estates Ltd, which then owned eight hectares at Kaituna, for $154,688. Northbank had “recently purchased land with the intention of developing the property as a vineyard and to market wine under its own label”. [Decision number 200420019.]
· Andrea Jane Chapman and Christopher Chapman of the U.K. have approval to acquire 7.2 hectares at 207 Maitai Valley Road, Nelson for $910,000 from Latitude South Limited of Aotearoa. The OIC states: “The Applicants have had their applications for Australian permanent residence approved by the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. The Applicants intend to reside permanently in New Zealand and propose to acquire the subject lifestyle property as a permanent residence for themselves and their family.” [Decision number 200420016.]
The value of investment approved in the year to August 2004 is somewhat lower than for the previous August year, both in gross and net value (i.e. disregarding sales from one overseas investor to another, and discounting part New Zealand ownership of the assets) but the 2004 year is catching up on 2003. The greatest part of the value of the approvals is still for sale from one overseas investor to another.
*In addition there was one retrospective approval granted during the month. This involved a consideration of $313,913 and a land area of 385.3 hectares.
Investment involving land
As noted last month, gross sales of land approved by the OIC during the years to August have increased hugely in area, though net sales have fallen to the point where more is being recorded as being transferred to New Zealand part-owners hands than passed on to new overseas owners. A large proportion of the hectares being bought and sold are between one overseas investor and another. Refusals (above) have risen in number, but are still a small proportion of the total.
* In addition there was one retrospective approval granted during the month (see note above).
P. O. Box 2258