CAFCA - Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa

Foreign investment in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Overseas Investment Office - April 2021 Decisions

Cerberus Private Equity Buys Another Forest

Cerberus Vermögensverwaltung GmbH (Austria 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 555.1692 ha. at 327 Haliburton Road, Kotemaori, Hawkes Bay (Tiromoana), from Harold John O'Grady, Rachael Jane O'Grady and Stephen Hugh Orr Reaney as trustees of Tiromoana Trust (NZ 100%) for $6.4 million.

The OIO states that the consent was granted under the special test for forestry in s.16A(4) of the Act. Cerberus's ultimate owner has developed and operated forestry investments in NZ since 2019. The land is currently used as a sheep and beef farm, and Cerberus intends to develop it into a commercial forest, planted approximately 410 ha. in pinus radiata.

The remainder will be unplanted areas for forestry activities, retained native bush (71 ha), buffer land (18 ha), and roads and tracks (four ha). It plans to subdivide and sell a portion of the land with a dwelling not required for forestry activities. The Land is primarily Land Use Capability classes 6 and 7 (548 ha.), which is generally considered suitable for forestry.

Cerberus Vermögensverwaltung is a wealth manager; it calls itself Cerberus Capital Management in English. "Founded in 1992, Cerberus is a global leader in alternative investing with approximately $US53 billion in assets across complementary credit, private equity, and real estate platforms", with 23 offices around the world ( I can find no previous consents or forests under the Cerberus name, so God knows what capital fund it means by its - and now Tiromoana's - ultimate owners. In Greek mythology Cerberus is, of course, the multi-headed dog that guards Hades.

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Chinese Paper Corporation Buys Forest At Makarau, Auckland

Pointer Investment (NZ) Ltd (Chinese Public 62.6%; Chinese Govt, 36.7%; Hong Kong Public 0.7%) has consent to acquire 160.6386 ha. at Burnside Road, Makarau, on the Kaipara Harbour, from AJN Land Ltd (Germany 100%). Price withheld. The OIO states that Pointer Investment applied under the special test for forestry activities in s.16A (4) of the Act. It is currently developing its forestry business in NZ, with a focus on acquiring log supply.

The land is currently used for commercial forestry and Pointer Investment intends to continue this. It plans to engage a local forestry management company. The forest is in its second rotation. The existing tree crop is pinus radiata of 2001-07 plantings. Approximately 134 ha. is exotic forest, the remainder being native bush or unplantable (25 ha.) and infrastructure such as roading (2 ha.). Pointer Investment plans to replant after harvest.

The ultimate holding company for Pointer Investment (NZ) is Xiamen ITG Paper Corp. Ltd. This is part of Xiamen ITG Group Corporation which is a State-owned company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and a Fortune Global Top 500 focused on supply chain management and financial services, and actively

AJN Land Ltd registered as an NZ forestry industry company in 2014, 100% owned by a director at an Auckland address, and I can't find a previous OIO consent, so the German ownership is unclear. There's an AJN Resources on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange which is a global exploration and mining company with a particular focus on the Congo.

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Singapore-Based Oil Man Buys Fifth Farm For Forest Conversion

Te Au (No 2) Ltd (Singapore 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 381.6 hectares of land at 746 Te Awa Road, Waipukurau, Hawke's Bay, from Ngawa Farming Company Ltd (NZ 100%). Price withheld. The OIO states that Te Au applied under the special test for forestry in s.16A (4) of the Act. The land is currently being grazed by sheep and beef stock. Te Au intends to plant approximately 280 ha. as a commercial forest. Approximately 20 ha. with a residential dwelling will be subdivided and sold to a third party.

The remainder is approximately 40.8 ha. of native bush and scrub, 3.2 ha. of infrastructure and 37.6 ha. buffer land including include riparian and boundary setbacks. Te Au intends to replant following harvest. The land is Land Use Capability Classifications 6, which is generally suitable for pastoral or forestry uses. It includes the beds of the Mangarouhi Stream and of an unnamed stream which have been offered to the Crown. Te Au companies of various numbers are listed as owned by Hugh Lane-Spollen, a Singapore-based Shell Oil man. He bought two farms for conversion in May 2019, a third in July 2019, and another in December 2020.

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German Aristocrats Buy Another Forest In NZ

Mahia Forest Ltd (Germany 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 1,178 ha. at 57 Glenbrook Road, Hawkes Bay (Glenbrook Station) from WE Jeffries Ltd (NZ 100%). Price withheld. The OIO states that Mahia Forest applied under the special test for forestry in s. 16A (4) of the Act. It has been investing in NZ since 2000 and is beneficially owned by the German-registered limited partnership owned by the von Gemmingen-Hornberg family.

The land is currently a sheep and beef farm, which Mahia Forest intends to develop as a commercial forest. It will plant a mix of pinus radiata (80%) and alternative species, commencing from 2021/22. It plans to plant approximately 971 ha, retaining approximately 60 ha of better land for farming purposes. The remainder will be unplanted areas for forestry activities, and native bush (71 ha), infrastructure (43 ha) and buffer land (23 ha).

It has agreed to protect and provide access to various areas of special interest and offered river bed to the Crown for $1. The majority of the land is Land Use Capability class 6 (approximately 1,115 ha) which is generally considered suitable for forestry. Mahia Forest Ltd's registered owner is GLF GmbH & Co. KG, in Bad Rappenau, near Stuttgart.

The von Gemmingen-Hornberg family traces itself back to knighthoods in 600. They still have large estates, including castles and palaces (Wikipedia). And forest estates in NZ - see consents for Grundy Lake Forest Ltd in July 2004, July and August 2008, July 2010, February 2011 and August 2019. Grandy Lake Forest Associates LLC, in Washington State, USA, is also the Gemmingen-Hornberg family.

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Ontario Teachers Buys Forestry Right In Ōpōtiki

OTPP NZ Forest Investments Ltd (Canada (100%) has consent to acquire a forestry right registered over approximately 2,013.1306 ha. at Waiotahe Valley Road, Opotiki, from Monte Capital Ltd (Switzerland 100%). Price withheld. The OIO states that OTPP NZ Forest Investments applied under the special test for forestry in s. 16A (4) of the Act. It is a NZ registered company ultimately wholly owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board. It is in the business of planting or acquiring forest estates and harvesting timber into the domestic market for processing. The forestry right relates to a second-rotation commercial pine forest in early to mid-stage growth.

Monte Capital remains the freehold owner of the land. The forestry right will be registered on records of title with a total area of 2,013 ha. Approximately 1,232 ha. is planted as forest, with limited ancillary rights over the remaining land necessary for forestry activities. The forest does not include any residential land and will not be used for residential purposes.

This consent includes a condition requiring OTPP to maintain the existing consent conditions in relation to the land. The Minister of Finance has determined that the investment is not contrary to New Zealand's national interest. The Ontario Teachers has previously invested in NZ as consortium partners; see February 2004 and November 2007 for forestry investments, the Yellow Pages in April 2007 and our pathology labs in November 2020.

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Malaysians Invest In Forestry Conversion In Southland

Pine Plantations Private Ltd (Malaysia 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 457 ha. at 111 Gully Road, Southland, from AG and KM Gill Ltd (NZ 100%) for $4 million. The OIO states that Pine Plantations applied under the special test for forestry activities in s.16A (4) of the Act. Pine Plantations is beneficially owned by Malaysian individuals associated with the Neoh family. The land is currently a sheep and beef farm, and Pine Plantations intends to develop it into a commercial forest, planting principally pinus radiata. Planting will commence in 2021/22 and be harvested in 25-30 years. It plans to plant approximately 330 ha.

The remainder will be unplanted areas associated with forestry activities, including retained native bush (98 ha) and buffer land (22 ha). It will also subdivide and sell 12 ha. with a dwelling that is not required for forestry. The land includes approximately 70 ha of high ecological value which will be protected. Approximately 309 ha is Land Use Capability 6, which is generally considered more suitable for forestry. The family reference may refer to Malaysia investor and former entrepreneurial whizz kid Joel Neoh Eu-Jin, although he is not one of the Neohs named in Pine Plantation's company registration.

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Coca-Cola Europe Takeover Of Coca-Cola In Aus And NZ

Coca-Cola European Partners plc (USA 41.1%; Spain 37.1%; UK 5.1%; various 16.7%) has consent to acquire 100% of the shares in Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd which has an interest in:

  • approximately 4.6312 ha. at 677 Marshland Road, Ouruhia, Christchurch;
  • approximately 2.2875 ha. at Junction Road, Paeroa; and
  • approximately 0.3885 ha. at Carbine Road, Mount Wellington, Auckland,
from the shareholders of Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (USA 42.4%; Australia 28.6%; UK 5.8%; Ireland 2.5%; Norway 1.2%; various 19.3%) for an undetermined price more than $100m.

The OIO states that Coca-Cola European Partners is the authorised bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company's beverage brands throughout Western Europe. The target, Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd, bottles and distributes Coca-Cola's beverage brands in Australia, NZ, Fiji, Indonesia, PNG and Samoa. It operates from various sites in NZ, three of which are sensitive because the land is residential. Coca-Cola European Partners is looking to expand its business into the Southern Hemisphere by acquiring Coca-Cola Amatil, which is ASX listed.

The acquisition will occur by way of a scheme of arrangement, and other arrangements with the Coca-Cola Company. This is a transnational takeover of an Australian company, where the New Zealand assets make up a minority portion. The applicant intends to operate the NZ business in largely the same way, but will add value through job creation, investment in manufacturing facilities and by implementing further/enhanced environmental protections.

So, Paeroa's profits will now go to Europe instead of Australia. God know where our water will end up. The takeover buys out independent shareholders and shuffles the Coca-Cola company ones around. Interesting that, rather than operating as one corporate group, Coca-Cola is a brand-owning company plus separately listed regional manufacturer-distributors, who can apparently cannibalise each other.

The NZ arm of Coca-Cola Amatil had to repay the $7.2 million in covid job subsidies that it got in 2020. Apparently it did suffer the stipulated 30% revenue drop, but then - surprise, surprise - it made a full-year net profit of $340m anyway (RNZ 25/1/21). Another reason not to drink the stuff, even if the water in it is ours.

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KKR Private Equity Takeover Of Natural Pet Food

Gold Nature IV Ltd(USA 16.8%; Cayman Islands 10.5%; Kuwait 6.7%; Singapore 3.7%; Canada 3.3%; Saudi Arabia 3.2%; Luxembourg 2%; Germany 1.4%; Hong Kong 1.4%; Bermuda 1.2%; various 36%) has consent to acquire 100% of the ordinary shares in Natural Pet Food Group Ltd from the shareholders of Natural Pet Food Group Ltd (NZ 97.5%; Australia 1%; Singapore 0.4%). Price withheld (more than $100 million).

The OIO states that Gold Nature is a special-purpose vehicle created for the investment. It is a subsidiary of KKR Asian Fund IV SCSp, which is an investment fund with an Oceania and Asia focus. The takeover target, Natural Pet Food Group Ltd, is a distributor of premium natural dog and cat food and KKR intends to continue operating this business.

KKR, formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is a US global investment company, that last month got OIO consent to buy animal health company Argenta. See May and August 2018 and April 2019 for other consents involving KKR. Natural Pet Food Group (reg. 1996) is NZ-made, "pure and simple" and export-focused. Its brands are Feline Natural, Meat Mates. K9 Natural - will that now be KKR9? See May and August 2018, and April 2019 for other KKR acquisitions of significant NZ businesses.

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Lightspeed Takeover Of Vend Retail And Restaurant Software

Lightspeed POS Inc. (Canada 53%; USA 41%; various 3%; Japan 2%; UK 1%) has consent to acquire 100% of Vend Ltd from shareholders (NZ 58.5%; Australia 15.8%; Germany 13.5%; USA 8%; Singapore 3.1%; Hong Kong (SAR) 1%; various 0.003%) for approximately $490,000,000. The OIO states that Lightspeed POS is a point-of-sale (POS) and e-commerce software company listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. Vend is also a point-of-sale and e-commerce supplier. Lightspeed considers the expertise of both companies in their respective markets will enhance their ability to move products into new international markets.

Lightspeed is a point-of-sale and e-commerce software provider based in Montreal. Wikipedia says it was founded in 2005 by Chief Executive Officer Dax da Silva and provides services to 100,000+ retail, restaurant and hospitality businesses in 100 countries including Australia, and now NZ. In 2020, the company generated revenue of $US120.6 million with $US478.4 million assets (that's a $25% return).

Auckland-based Vend makes software that allows cash registers to be replaced by iPads. The NZ Herald reports that it was, in fact, sold for $NZ455 million ($US350m). Vend says that more than 25,000 retailers worldwide use its cloud-based point-of-sale software, and that it generated approximately $US34m revenue in 2020. It was founded in 2009 by Vaughan Fergusson after he sold his first start-up, an online travel booking platform, to TradeMe.

Prior to this takeover, the largest shareholder was NZ venture capital fund Movac with 9%. Vaughan Fergusson, his former wife Mel Rowsell and early backer Sam Morgan were next largest with 8% each. A Milford Asset Management Kiwisaver fund had 5%. Two smaller early investors were Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures and Lance Wiggs' Punakaiki Fund (Keall, NZH 12/3/21

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UK Shareholder Takeover Of WPP AUNZ Media Company

Cavendish Square Holding BV (various overseas 36.3%; US Public 35.6%; UK Public 28.1%) has consent to acquire up to 38.5% of the remaining shares in WPP AUNZ from other shareholders of WPP AUNZ Ltd(Australian Public 54%; various overseas 32%; US Public 8%; Luxembourg Public 6%) for approximately $121 million.

Cavendish Square Holding is a passive holding company ultimately owned by WPP plc, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange with approximately 11,000 shareholders. WPP provides media investment management and a range of marketing and communications, advertising, and television and print production services, with operations in 112 countries.

Cavendish Square Holding currently owns 61.5% of the shares in WPP AUNZ Ltd which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The applicant is seeking to acquire the remaining shares under a shareholders' scheme of arrangement or a takeover bid made under the Australian Corporations Act. The proposed transaction is predominantly governed by New South Wales/Australian law.

WPP plc is a British transnational communications, advertising, public relations, technology, and commerce holding company based in London. It started with wire shopping baskets in 1971 and is now considered the world's largest advertising company, as of 2019, and is reported to pay lower taxes than would be expected (Wikipedia). WPP AUSNZ is a group of marketing and advertising companies, formed after a merger between WPP and the STW Group in 2016. It has a team in Auckland.

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Fletcher Residential Uses Fifth Consent Of 12 In Tamaki, Auckland

Fletcher Residential Ltd (NZ Public 21.8%; Australian Public 54.4%; various overseas 23.8%) has consent to acquire approximately 1.4732 ha. at Tobruk Road, Derna Road and Dunkirk Road, Tamaki, Auckland, from Tamaki Regeneration Ltd (nationality omitted). Price withheld. The OIO states that Fletcher Residential was granted a standing consent based on the Increased Housing/Non-Residential Use tests on 18 April 2019. This permits it to acquire up to 200ha of residential but not otherwise sensitive land in up to 12 transactions by 1 May 2022.

It must increase the number of dwellings on the land, or undertake development works, and must divest all interests in the land within ten years. This is the fifth transaction. It intends to subdivide and construct approximately 23 social housing units, three affordable housing units and 59 housing units to be sold on the open market. It expects construction of all 85 units to be completed by the end of November 2022.

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US Couple To Develop A Queenstown Section

An Anonymous American Couple (US 100%) has consent to acquire 7/7A Edgar Street, Queenstown, from Regents Park Close Ltd (nationality omitted) for $1,565,217.40. The OIO states these non-residents applied for consent to acquire residential land in Queenstown, which they will develop in conjunction with neighbouring land they already own. They plan to construct at least three residential dwellings.

They must complete the development by December 2024, they or certain related persons must not occupy any residential dwelling on the land and they must sell all interests in the land by 31 December 2025. What the point of this anonymity is, I don't know. OIO consents are supposed to be a public process, aren't they? All land ownership is registered and on rates lists, all their resource and building consents will be on record - half of Queenstown probably knows already.

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Metlifecare's First Use Of Its Rubber Stamp To Extend Beachlands Village

Metlifecare Pohutukawa Landing Ltd (USA 23.9%; Taiwan 9.4%; Luxembourg 6.1%; Kuwait 4.5%; Singapore 4.4%; Denmark 4.3%; Germany 4.2%; Sweden 4.1%; United Arab Emirates 4%; Cayman Islands 3.8%; UK 3.4%; Finland 3.3%; Switzerland 3.1%; Netherlands 2.9%; South Korea 2.4%; Australia 2.3%; Malaysia 2.2%; Virgin Islands, British 2%; Canada 1.8%; France 1.7%; various overseas 6.2%) has consent to acquire approximately 0.1835 ha. at 18-22 Gateway Avenue, Beachlands, Auckland, from Pine Harbour Holdings Ltd (nationalities omitted) for $2,018,500 plus GST.

The OIO states that Metlifecare was granted a standing consent based on the Increased Housing test on 12 June 2019. This permits Metlifecare, or any wholly-owned subsidiary such as this applicant, to acquire up to 120 ha. of residential (but not otherwise sensitive) land in up to 12 transactions by 13 June 2022. This is the first acquisition of land under the standing consent. Metlifecare Pohutukawa Landing must use the land to construct, or increase the number of dwellings in, a long-term accommodation facility. It intends to use the land to further develop its existing retirement village adjacent to the land.

Established in 1984, Metlifecare currently owns and operates 25 villages, mainly in the upper North Island. Metlifecare Pohutukawa's listed holding company is APVG TopCo Pte. Ltd - that's Asia Pacific Village Group Ltd, which took over Metlifecare in 2020, and is indirectly owned by EQT Partners Infrastructure Fund IV (see OIO consents September 2020) - despite, as reported by NZX, an attempt to wriggle out of the arrangement because of likely covid impacts on anticipated profits ( EQT is a Stockholm-based private equity investment firm founded in 1994 by Swedish (Wallenberg family) and US private equity firms.

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Joval Wines Expands Its Otago Vineyard

Joval Wine Group (NZ) Ltd (Australia 100%) has consent to acquire 8.67 ha. at 6 Willowbank Road, Queensberry, Central Otago, from Alistair Neil McLeod, Karen Margaret McLeod and GCA Legal Trustee 2008 Ltd as trustee of the Egilshay Trust (NZ 100%) for $1,050,000. The OIO states that Joval Wine Group wishes to expand its vineyard in Central Otago by acquiring a neighbouring property.

The vineyard will be used to grow Pinot Noir grapes for its award-winning Nanny Goat premium wine brand. Joval Wine will be converting the land from stock grazing to a new vineyard at development cost of approximately $400,000. The expansion will provide security of grape supply and will enable more efficient operation of the vineyards from economies of scale.

Joval Wine states that opening up the Australian market to Central Otago wines is likely to benefit the NZ wine industry generally. It has the ability through its distribution channels to place its products at the premium end of the market, and raise the profile of the region through promoting its award-winning brand. It establishes that the new vineyard will provide approximately $300,000 per annum in additional export returns. The Australian Joval Wine Group is owned by the Valmorbida family. See June 2019 for its OIO consent to buy its existing Otago vineyard.

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German Engineer To Convert Farm To Wildlife And Honey

The Minister for Land Information and the Associate Minister of Finance have granted consent for Hermann Tobias Hagenmeyer (Germany 100%) to acquire approximately 254.3343 ha. at Tangoio Settlement Road, Tangoio, Hawkes Bay, from Beverley Coila Doohan, Michael Owen Doohan, Stephen John Doohan, Daniel Peter Doohan, Stephen Hugh Reaney and CDT (Doohan) Ltd (NZ 100%). Price withheld.

The OIO states that the applicant was the Chief Executive Officer and owner of the Getrag Group, one of the world's largest suppliers of transmission systems for cars and commercial vehicles. The land is currently a sheep and beef farm near his existing property. He intends to use part of the land and part of his existing property for a wildlife sanctuary, and part for a mānuka forest and honey business.

This is expected to lead to benefits of indigenous vegetation and wildlife; additional investment; and increased jobs establishing and maintaining the wildlife sanctuary, mānuka forest, and honey business; increased mānuka honey export receipts; and public walking access over part of the land. The Ministers considered the benefit likely to occur and to be substantial and identifiable.

You can read the story of the Getrag company here. Tobias is the Hagenmeyer son who took the company global. In July 2015, Magna International bought it for $US1.9 billion dollars (Wikipedia). So, the cost of pest-proof fencing won't be a problem. Tangoio Settlement Rd is in the area of Tangoio Falls, Te Ana Falls and White Pine Bush scenic reserves.

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Americans To Intensify Goat Rearing On Bell Block

Cloverview Ltd Partnership (USA 80%; NZ 20%) has consent to acquire approximately 11.6005 ha. and lease approximately 4.1101 ha. at 354 Paraite Road, Bell Block, New Plymouth, from Kylie Alana McDonald and KDJ Trustee Ltd as trustees of the KDJ Trust (NZ 100%) for $3,500,000 plus GST (if any). The OIO states that Cloverview is an NZ limited partnership, majority ultimately owned by descendants of American Peter H Kuyper.

The land is currently used to rear kid goats for export. Cloverview intends to at least double the number of kid goats being reared, investing in infrastructure and employing additional staff. The investment is expected to lead to additional investment, increased jobs, greater productivity from increased scale, and increased export receipts. There will be some oversight and participation by NZ as the vendors will have a minority interest in the Cloverview partnership. Call me nosy but, on Google map 354, Paraite Rd already looks like a fairly intensive Big Barn operation.

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