CAFCA - Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa

Foreign investment in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Overseas Investment Office - October 2011 Decisions

Blackstone Gobbles Up Burger King

Another reasonably quiet month at the OIO. Firstly Tango New Zealand Limited The Blackstone Group LP, United States of America (100%) received approval for the acquisition of rights or interests in up to 100% of the shares of Anchorage New Zealand Holdings Limited, the value of the assets of Anchorage New Zealand Holdings Limited and its 25% or more subsidiaries being greater than $100m. The vendor was Existing shareholders of Anchorage New Zealand Holdings Limited Anchorage Capital Partnership Fund LP, Australia (92.3%), Business Trustees Limited & Elliott Trustee Company Limited, New Zealand (1.9%), Hunter Corporate Trustee Limited, New Zealand (1.9%), Bluff Hill Trust Limited, New Zealand (1.3%), Jonathan Pinshaw, Australia (1.3%) and Michelle Alexander Trustees Limited, New Zealand (1.3%); consideration was $107,948,817.

The OIO states: "The Applicant is ultimately owned by one or more funds advised or managed by affiliates of the Blackstone Group LP ("Blackstone"), one of the largest independent managers of private capital in the world. The Applicant is acquiring 100% of the shares of Anchorage New Zealand Holdings Limited which owns and operates the Burger King franchise business in New Zealand. Blackstone believes that with its investment experience in the consumer and beverage industry it is well placed to help grow and develop the Burger King business and considers the acquisition is aligned with its regional strategy and industry focus globally".

As the OIO states, Blackstone is one of the largest private equity groups in the world. According to Wikipedia: "Blackstone is an American-based alternative asset management and financial services company that specialises in private equity, real estate, and credit and marketable alternative investment strategies, as well as financial advisory services, such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A), restructurings and reorganisations, and private placements. Blackstone's private equity business has been one of the largest investors in leveraged buyout transactions over the last decade, while its real estate business has actively acquired commercial real estate. Since its inception, Blackstone has completed investments in such notable companies as Hilton Worldwide, Equity Office Properties, Republic Services, AlliedBarton, United Biscuits, Freescale Semiconductor and Travelport".

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Babcock Takes Full Control Of Lease At Devonport Naval Base

Babcock International Group PLC United Kingdom Public (66.8%), United States Public (15.6%), various overseas persons (9%) and Unknown (8.6%) received approval for the acquisition of rights or interests in a further 30% of the shares of Babcock Fitzroy Limited which owns or controls a leasehold interest in 2.1 hectares of land at Calliope Road and Queens Parade, North Shore, Auckland. The vendors were Fitzroy Yachts Limited Peter Clayton White-Robinson, New Zealand (100%); consideration was stated as confidential.

The OIO states: "In July 2010 the Applicant acquired 70% of the shares in Babcock Fitzroy Limited ("BFL"), which has a direct leasehold interest in certain land situated at the HMNZ Naval Base at Devonport, Auckland. The Applicant seeks consent to acquire the remaining 30% ownership of BFL. The Applicant considers this is a good opportunity to simplify the ownership structure of BFL and consolidate the Applicant's investments in New Zealand". See our May 2010 commentary for details of Babcock's purchase of the initial 70% and a description of the history of this British-based boilermaker, turned defence contractor, turned nuclear waste expert.

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Yet Another Southland Farm Bought By The Germans

While the rest of the country is up in arms about the prospect of the Chinese taking ownership of the Crafar Farms, a German invasion in Southland rolls on unabated. This time Kaiwera Farm Limited Partnership Aquila AgrarINVEST Investitions GmbH, D/S Neuseeland Milchfarm Investitions GmbH and Alceda Star SA, Germany (100%) received approval to acquire a freehold interest in 227.3 hectares of land at 1396 Waipahi Station Rd, Gore. Consideration was $3,370,000; the vendor was Timaru Michael Morris & Caroline Millo Morris as trustees of the Bluecliff Trust New Zealand (100%).

The OIO states: "The Applicant is acquiring the property in order to convert 111 hectares into a dairy platform. The property will then be amalgamated with the neighbouring farm to be run as a single dairy farm of 326 hectares, with another 106 hectares to be used as a run-off". By our calculations, this consortium has bought around 5,000 hectares of prime South Island dairy farms in the last two years. A different German consortium has bought another 1,685 hectares. See our commentaries March and December 2010 and March, April, May, July and August 2011 for details of these purchases.

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Other October Decisions

Sealy New Zealand Limited Dyer Holdings Pty. Ltd., Australia (50%) and Sealy Corporation, United States of America (50%) received approval to acquire a leasehold interest in 1.2 hectares of land at 24-30 Lake Road, Northcote, Auckland. The vendor was DJ Cowie & Associates Limited, JKM Smith and HA Rochfort as trustees of the Lake Property Trust New Zealand (100%); consideration was $10,291,000. The OIO states: "The Applicant manufactures Sealy branded bedding under licence from Sealy Corporation. It has been operating its business from the relevant land for several years and wishes to continue to do so. To this end, it has entered into a new lease with the landowners under which the owners have agreed to undertake extensive capital redevelopment works".

Whitford Forest Holdings Company Friedberg Family, Canada (100%) received approval to acquire a freehold interest in 1,624 hectares of land between Maraetai & Whitford, Greater Auckland. The vendor was Riverside Forestry Limited New Zealand (100%); consideration $1,826,433. The OIO states: "The Applicant is the registered proprietor of a four fifths interest in land known as 'Whitford Forest' located in the Greater Auckland region. The Applicant seeks to acquire the remaining one fifth interest in the land. The proposed investment will enhance the Applicant's investment already made in the property. In particular, the Applicant has already contributed significant resources into the future development of the property through its involvement in the Whitford Rural Plan Change (Plan Change 8) of the Manukau District Plan. The primary purpose of the Whitford Rural Plan Change is to provide for countryside living development". See our June 1997 commentary for details of the applicant's original purchase of Whitford Forest.

Jan Frederik Sipsma, Lianne Sipsma & Sipsma Corporate Trustees Limited as trustees of the Sipsma Family Trust Australia (100%) received approval to acquire a freehold interest in 15.8 hectares of land at 78A Silverstream Falls, Whenuakite, Coromandel. The vendor was Professional Contractors Limited as sole trustee of Tairua Development Trust New Zealand (100%); consideration was $500,000. The OIO states: "Jan and Lianne Sipsma intend to migrate to New Zealand and intend to reside in New Zealand indefinitely on the property. They intend to construct a residential dwelling on the property and lease part of the land to their consulting business to establish its head office and executive retreat facilities".

And finally for October, Richard Lewellen Griot as trustee of the Lusso Trust Richard Lewellen Griot, United States of America (100%) received approval to acquire a freehold interest in 7.5 hectares of land at 16 Strathfield Lane, Whitford, Auckland. The vendor was Peter Frederick Ullrich, Caroline Isobel Ullrich, Euan Boyd Lindsay Hilson and Gray Mitchell Cameron as trustees of the Strathfield Trust New Zealand (100%); consideration was kept confidential. The OIO states:" Richard Griot and his family intend to immigrate to and reside indefinitely in New Zealand on the property. The Applicant's application for permanent residence has been approved by New Zealand Immigration".

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