October 2001 decisions

Assa Abloy takes over Interlock group

Canterbury Waste Services acquires more land for regional landfill

Shell Todd buys land as part of oil and gas exploration south of Kapuni

Palmerston North golf course to Uruguay company

Land for forestry

Land for wine

Telecom Mobile buys land on Kaikoura Island, Hauraki Gulf, for cell site

Other rural land sales


Assa Abloy takes over Interlock group

Assa Abloy AB has approval to acquire Interlock Group Ltd and Interlock Properties Ltd for a suppressed amount. It thereby extends its prominent position in the international lock market, which includes the Yale brand and Lockwood in Australia.


“Assa Abloy AB is the world’s largest lock manufacturing company and comprises 100 subsidiaries in over 40 countries employing more than 20,000 people. The Applicant owns the majority of the well-known lock brands in the world and has a very strong manufacturing and product development base.


The applicant already operates in New Zealand and the proposed purchase will enable the applicant to increase market share and turnover in the Australasian market particularly in New Zealand. The Applicant views the window and door hardware operations of Interlock Group as a growth sector, and the proposal is an opportunity to enter and expand its involvement in this sector.”


Assa Abloy is based in Stockholm, Sweden. According to its web site (English: http://www.assaabloy.com/defaultdev2.asp?lang=2), in a 28/9/01 news release on the company’s acquisition of Interlock,


“Interlock is the leading lock company in New Zealand. Interlock has sales of NZ$60 million and shows high profitability. More than 50% of sales is exported. The existing owners/management will remain in their positions. Interlock is the leading manufacturer and distributor of window and door security hardware in New Zealand. Interlock has a proven track record of developing innovative products and has developed successful export to Japan, UK and the US.


Interlock’s strength lies in its innovative product and production technologies and, as such, will contribute significantly to Assa Abloy’s philosophies of cross learning, benchmarking and cross-selling. Interlock will add a competitive range of window security products to its sister companies in the region… The operation has shown steadily improving profits over several years and shows high profitability. The company is based in Wellington with production units in Auckland and Wellington. The total number of employees amounts to 420.”


The web site shows a continuing stream of takeovers by Assa Abloy internationally. According to the OIC, the company’s ultimate ownership is:


30% - Sweden, minority shareholdings

13.8% - Sweden, Sakl

25.2% - Finland, Wartsilla Corporation

5.6% - Finland, minority shareholdings

20.4% - U.S.A., minority shareholdings

5% - United Kingdom, minority shareholdings

Canterbury Waste Services acquires more land for regional landfill

Canterbury Waste Services Ltd has approval to acquire 0.25 hectares at 301 Mt Cass Road, Waipara, North Canterbury for $127,000. The land is part of the controversial development of a huge regional landfill for waste from much of Canterbury in the Upper Kate Valley. The OIC reports:


“In 1996, 10 Canterbury local authorities formed a joint standing committee to investigate the potential for a regional solution to the 360,000 tonnes of solid waste disposed of in the region annually. The primary driver for change was the Resource Management Act (RMA) and the environmental obligations arising from the Act. There are currently 30 operating landfills in the Canterbury region. The Commission is advised that by the end of 2002 it is likely that 29 of these landfills will cease operation either by being full or because an extension for the existing resource consent is unlikely to be obtained.


The Applicant and the various participating councils in the Canterbury region have formed a joint venture company Transwaste Canterbury Limited to identify and develop a site for a regional landfill in Canterbury. Transwaste will eventually own and manage the landfill, subcontracting the operation of the landfill to the Applicant. The Applicant has stated it is necessary for the Canterbury region to have a modern landfill developed to the highest environmental standards.


On 21 June 2000 the Commission granted the Applicant consent to purchase approximately 2,757 hectares of land known as Tiromoana Station, Waipara, North Canterbury. A small area of the Tiromoana Station, the Upper Kate Valley, has been identified as a potential landfill site.


The Applicant now wishes to acquire the freehold interest in 0.251 hectares of land bounded on all sides by Tiromoana Station and, in effect, located within Tiromoana Station. The road on which the property is located would be the main access road to the proposed landfill site. The acquisition of this property will help ensure that the national interest benefits from the Applicant’s investment in Tiromoana Station are realised”.


The June 2000 decision approving the acquisition of Tiromoana Station was initially almost completely suppressed (presumably to delay public controversy), but released after appeal by CAFCA in November 2000.


The consortium has been searching for a suitable site for the landfill for some time. Each proposal has met with vociferous opposition from the local community. While the Kate Valley site has met some opposition, the level is so far not nearly as high as it was at Darfield and Omihi, Waipara. See Foreign Control Watchdog, numbers 91 (August 1999), 92 (December 1999) and 93 (April 2000) for further details.


The local councils have given Canterbury Waste Services the job of selecting and recommending a suitable site to Transwaste, obtain the necessary consents, and operate the landfill. They have controversially given it monopoly rights for solid waste disposal in the region.


The company is described by the OIC as being “ultimately” owned as follows:


51.25% - Aotearoa, minority shareholdings

25% - Aotearoa, Auckland Regional Services Trust

9% - Australia, Colonial First State Limited

8.75% - United Kingdom, Shell PLC

3.5% - Australia, minority shareholdings

2.5% - Unknown, Persons who may be “overseas persons”


However in fact it is owned 50% each by Waste Management NZ Ltd (a listed company no longer a subsidiary of Waste Management of the U.S.A.) and Envirowaste Services Ltd. In turn, Transwaste, is 50% owned by Canterbury Waste Services and 50% by the consortium of local authorities.


Envirowaste is a joint venture company owned 50/50 between Northern Disposal Systems Ltd and Fulton Hogan Ltd. Northern Disposal Systems is owned by Infrastructure Auckland Limited (formerly the Auckland Regional Services Trust, and hence the 25% ownership listed by the OIC above). Fulton Hogan is 35% owned by Shell Plc of the U.K.

Shell Todd buys land as part of oil and gas exploration south of Kapuni

Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd, owned 50% by The Todd Corporation Ltd of Aotearoa and 50% by Shell of the U.K. and the Netherlands, has approval to acquire 13 hectares at Ahipaipa Road, Okaiawa, Taranaki for $298,000 from the Estate of Rangi Ike Awahou of Aotearoa.


“Shell Todd Oil Services, as part of petroleum exploration activity within the Kapuni Mining Licence, has identified a further hydrocarbon structure in the south east of the Permit. It considers the structure worth drilling in order to establish whether the hydrocarbon resource is of a commercial quantity…


The purchase of the land is an integral part of a project to drill an exploration well on an adjacent piece of land. The land being purchased is to be swapped, in part, for a well site should the exploration well prove to be commercial. If the well site is not commercial then the land will be sold at the earliest possible time. If the well is commercial, then the land will be sold to an adjoining landowner (who owns a substantial area of farmland) in exchange for a two hectare area of his existing property, on which the main well site will be established.”

Palmerston North golf course to Uruguay company

Valor Ideal Ltd, owned by Frederico and Richy Chamyan of Uruguay, has approval to acquire a 33 hectare golf course at Setters Line and Railway Road, Palmerston North, Manawatu for $4,030,425. The company “proposes to enhance the golfing business currently being operated on the property. It is proposed to establish a golf academy on the property which will involve class rooms and an internal driving range including state of the art technology to assist golfers and coaches alike. The establishment of the academy has the support of golf professionals at the Palmerston North and the Manawatu Golf Clubs. In the medium term the Applicant intends to construct a retail and customer service training centre on the property. It is also proposed in the longer term to develop the unutilised part of the property extending the golf course and its facilities further.”

Land for forestry

·     Good Hope Family Trust of Taiwan has approval to acquire 33 hectares of land at State Highway 22, Te Akau Road, near Ngaruawahia, Waikato, from the New Zealand Forestry Group Ltd, which is owned 76% by Wesley Garratt of Aotearoa, and 24% by J. Hong of Taiwan. The purchaser is a member of the Brooklands Forest Group, which has “entered into an arrangement with New Zealand Forestry Group to develop approximately 1,200 hectares of land at Ngaruawahia. Currently 138 hectares of land has been afforested”. The sale is like many in this and other regions organised by New Zealand Forestry Group, the last such sale being in August 2001, also in Ngaruawahia, with investors in the Brooklands Forest group. The investors provide the money, while New Zealand Forestry Group manages the development of the forestry operation.

·     Nelson Pine Industries Ltd, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Forestry Company Ltd of Japan, has approval to acquire the 300 hectare Mount Duncan Forest, Linkwater, Pelorus Sounds, Marlborough from Rayonier New Zealand Ltd, a subsidiary of Rayonier Inc of the U.S.A., for $596,588. The forest adjoins existing forest owned by Nelson Pine Industries, and some of the wood will be used in its Nelson plant, “one of the single largest medium density fibreboard production plants in the world”. The company processes approximately 40% of the Nelson region’s radiata pine into fibreboard and other products. The bulk of the company’s fibreboard production is exported to Japan. “The market is a secure one” because of Sumitomo’s ownership.

Land for wine

·     Linden Estates 2000 Ltd, owned by Brenda Lynne Cha of Canada, has approval to acquire 17 hectares of land at Esk Valley, Napier, Hawkes Bay for $281,250. In March 2001, Linden Estates 2000 gained approval to acquire three blocks of land totalling 23 hectares at Esk Valley connected with the Linden Estate. The present block adjoins that land. “It is proposed to plant the four hectares of flat land with gewürztraminer, syrah and pinot gris immediately with a further three hectares of the hill side land being planted with cabernet sauvignon later. The planting would be for premium grapes in small quantities suitable for cellar sales and restaurant sales. The remainder of the property which is not suitable for vineyards, due to its hilly nature might be developed as a low density residential project or possibly leased to adjoining property owner for the planting of olives. However no decision has been made in relation to this land at this stage.”

·     Montana Wines Ltd, owned 96% by Allied Domecq PLC of the U.K., has approval to acquire 3.8 hectares at Lawn Road, Napier, Hawkes Bay, for $108,000. It adjoins and will be used to extend one of its existing vineyards.

·     Woollaston Estates Ltd, owned 80% by Glenn Schaeffer of the U.S.A. and 20% by former Labour Government Minister Philip Woollaston and Carol Woollaston, has approval to acquire 17 hectares at Main Road, Hope, Nelson for $984,375 from Burkes Estates Ltd of Aotearoa. The company proposes to develop this land with four other blocks it already owns into a commercial vineyard and winery. The Woollastons themselves operate the Wai-iti River Vineyard at Brightwater, Nelson. The last such land purchase by the company was approved by the OIC in March 2001 (see our commentary for that month). For further details and background on Philip Woollaston and Glenn Schaeffer, see our commentary on the January 2001 decision approving an earlier land purchase.

·     Valleyfield Partnership, a joint venture between Nobilo Vintners Ltd (60%, a subsidiary of BRL Hardy Ltd of Australia) and B.S. and S.M. Blick of Aotearoa (40%), has approval to acquire 9.0 hectares at Waihopai Valley Road, Waihopai, Marlborough. The land adjoins a 33 hectare vineyard that the partnership already owns and will enable the operation to be expanded. “Securing sufficient grape supply to meet current demand and proposed future demand remains a key issue facing the Nobilo Group. There is considerable focus on identifying opportunities to address this issue, which include expansion of joint venture operations such as this proposal.”

·     Sovarci SARL, owned by the Brac de La Perriere family of France, has approval to acquire from Georges Michel Ltd, owned by Georges Michel and family of France, 32 hectares of leasehold at State Highway 6 between Mahers Road and Kaituna-Tuamarina Road, Marlborough for $1,034,736. The OIC says: “Winepro’s main project is to develop a new vineyard specialising in the production of grape varieties suitable for high quality dessert wines both for local and export markets. Mr de la La Perriere the major shareholder in the Applicant is not only anticipated to bring additional funds to the development but will also bring his expertise as a winemaker and researcher in the wine industry and in particular in the production of the Sauternes style dessert wines.” What “Winepro” is, is nowhere explained.

·     Berridge Vineyard Estates Ltd, owned by Richard David Berridge of the U.S.A., has two approvals to acquire adjoining blocks of land to add to three totalling 80 hectares acquired in July and August 2001 (see our commentary on those months’ decisions). They are 5.7 hectares and 1.8 hectares respectively at State Highway 6, Gibbston Valley, Queenstown, Otago, for $618,750 and $360,000. Berridge, has been actively involved in many vineyard/winery developments” and he “proposes to convert the land and the adjoining property into a premium pinot noir vineyard and upmarket tourist facility including a wine cellar, wine tasting room, winery and a restaurant/shop. The winery will process the grapes from this vineyard and the others that the applicant proposes to establish. It is intended that the wine will be marketed both locally and overseas, primarily in the United States where the applicant has extensive market connections.”

Telecom Mobile buys land on Kaikoura Island, Hauraki Gulf, for cell site

Telecom Mobile Ltd, a subsidiary of Telecom New Zealand Ltd, has approval to acquire 0.027 hectares on Kaikoura Island in the Hauraki Gulf next to Great Barrier Island, for a cell site. It is being purchased from Westy Holdings Ltd of Aotearoa for a suppressed amount. As interesting as the purchase is Telecom’s current ownership. The OIC shows it as:


22.78% - U.S.A., Bell Atlantic Holdings Limited

14.18% - U.S.A., minority shareholdings

9.55% - U.S.A., Brandes Investment Partners

6.7% - U.S.A., Franklin Resources Inc.

11.31% - United Kingdom, United Kingdom Public

8.1% - Australia, minority shareholdings

4.74% - Unknown, Persons who may be “overseas persons”

1.2% - Singapore, minority shareholdings

21.44% - Aotearoa, minority shareholdings


So Telecom is only 21.44% owned in Aotearoa. At least 53.21% is held in the U.S.A. with Bell Atlantic, one of the two companies which originally bought Telecom at bargain rates when it was privatised, slowly reducing its shareholding to below 20%. In June 2000, when Telecom last had a purchase approved by the OIC, 29.95% was owned in Aotearoa, at least 47.39% was owned in the U.S.A., 10% in the U.K. and 7% in Australia.

Other rural land sales

·     Trees Pacifica Ltd, owned by Dr Charles P. Garrison of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire a half share in 46 hectares at 162E Whitipirorua Road, Onemana, Coromandel for $1,687,500 from the Hillbrook Family Trust of Aotearoa. Trees Pacifica and the Hillbrook Family Trust “already have a strong business relationship which includes a number of joint investments in various forestry projects… The land, which is a drystock unit, was originally part of a larger drystock unit. As part of the subdivision of the larger property, the vendors have established a number of native bush areas adjacent to the foreshore of the property in order to enhance the coastline. This was completed in consultation with the Department of Conservation and local Iwi. The Applicant agrees with the sentiments of the vendor in maintaining/enhancing the conservation values of the surrounding area, and intends to support the continuation of this process. The development of the farming operation and the further enhancement of the native bush and ecological areas on the property have been constrained due to the limited financial resources of the vendor. The sale of an undivided half share in the property to the Applicant will enable the injection of further capital into both the farming operation and the ongoing development of the conservation features on the property. As part of the development of the farming operation it is intended to establish an organically raised cattle herd on the property that will be primarily for export. Dr Garrison has been granted New Zealand permanent residency status. It is Mr Garrison’s intention to establish a residence, but not on the land the subject of this application, for himself and his family in New Zealand in the short to medium term.” In January 2000, Riverside Investments Ltd, owned by Garrison (45%), Francois Mandy of Belgium (42.75%), Marie Deleuse of Belgium (2.25%), and T.F.C. Forests Ltd of Aotearoa (10%), received approval to acquire 96 hectares at Riverside Road, Gisborne to be developed as a pinus radiata forest. In June 1998, Trees Pacifica Ltd gained approval to become a one-quarter owner of a 280 hectare block of land for forestry at Ihungia Road, Te Puia Springs, East Cape, Gisborne.

·     John Harold Thomas Lewis of the U.K. has approval to acquire 13 hectares at Pilmer Road, Gisborne for $337,500 for a citrus orchard “to diversify his existing business interests in the United Kingdom”. The land adjoins an 11 hectare block property whose acquisition was approved by the OIC in July 2001. On that property, he planned “to increase the total plantable hectares of grapes currently grown on the property and continue to maintain the squash crops that are planted on the property. The development of the property will involve removing the existing Chasselis grape variety and replanting in Chardonnay grapes.”

·     P.A. and J. Edwards of the U.K. have approval to acquire 2,237 hectares at the Inland Road, Kaikoura, Marlborough for $753, 750. They “propose to progressively develop the subject property into a tourism operation that includes a Game Park, Horse Treks and Bush Walks. It is intended that the tourism operation will take advantage of the rugged terrain and bush that dominates the property. It is also intended to construct a lodge on the property to provide accommodation for the visitors to the property. Part of the property will also be utilised for a commercial deer farm. In addition the Applicants intend to lease a substantial part of the land to the adjoining land owner for a low intensive beef operation while retaining the rights to use the land for horse trekking and shooting… The Applicant is a keen hunter and can see commercial potential for guided/non-guided hunting tours for fee paying hunters. It is intended to market the operation both nationally and internationally through their contacts in the United States and Europe particularly the United Kingdom.”

·     The Baen Family Trust, whose beneficiaries are John and Elaine Baen of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire 357 hectares at Bossu Road, Wainui, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury for $465,000. John Baen was Professor of Real Estate at Lincoln University for several years, and has “repeatedly revisited” since moving back to the U.S.A. The Baens intend to lease the land to a local farmer for up to three years while “sheep yards, cattle yards, deer yards, woolshed etc” are constructed. They also intend “to construct a residence on the property which will be utilised by members of the Baen family for up to six months each year. It is also proposed to establish a high quality tourism based farm-stay lodge on the front of the property. The development of the farm-stay will be undertaken in stages with the first stage involving the construction of one self contained farm-stay unit. Up to a further two units may be constructed depending on demand. It is envisaged that the residence will be utilised for meals and entertainment for visitors to the farm-stay. The target market for the enterprise will be affluent and retired couples primarily from the United States. It is also intended that 100 hectares of the land will be developed as a deer breeding and raising unit with a possibility of a further 100 hectares being converted to deer later. The remainder of the property will continue to be operated as a sheep and cattle grazing unit.”

·     Lagore Enterprises Trust, owned by the O’Hare Family of Ireland, has approval to acquire a 283 hectare farm at Allen Road, Otautau, Southland for $2,604,375 from Castlerock Holdings Ltd of Aotearoa. In June 2001, Lagore Enterprises received OIC approval to acquire 319 hectares at Otahuti, Southland. The O’Hares were then “in the course of realising their assets in Ireland and propose to move to New Zealand. Mr O’Hare has farmed in Ireland in partnership with his brother and now wants to buy a dairy farm in New Zealand. The O’Hares propose to reside on the property and farm it themselves.” The current farm is being acquired because the O’Hares “realise that to successfully dairy farm in Southland a run-off farm is required to carry their replacement dairy heifers, for wintering cows off farm during the non productive months, and also to produce silage and other supplements for the dairy farm. It has been found that contract grazing is an unreliable way of managing the young breeding stock and wintering cows. The purchase of this additional land will benefit the Applicant’s existing dairy farm by allowing it a couple of months during winter to regenerate itself. It will also enable the existing property to be more intensively used for milking thus resulting in an increase in productivity. The Applicant has developed a farm improvement plan for the additional land which will involve cultivating areas for winter and supplementary feeds and upgrading the watering and fencing systems. In the longer term once development of their present property is complete the Applicant may consider the conversion of the property to dairying.”