September 1997 decisions
Telecom New Zealand, a subsidiary of Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, has approval to acquire the cellphone business of Ericsson Cellular Ltd of Sweden. Ericsson was the principle competitor to Telecom selling airtime on Telecoms cellular network.
Telecom still has competition from the alternative cellular network run by Bell South, although in February 1997, BellSouth lodged proceedings against Telecom under the Commerce Act, citing anticompetitiveness and misuse of confidential information. It said Telecom was bundling discounted services over which it had a monopoly in return for exclusive relationships, preventing businesses from considering other service options. BellSouth also alleged Telecom was also misusing information provided to allow connection of BellSouths landline calls (Press, 1/2/97, "BellSouth takes Telecom to court", p.32).
The majority shareholders of Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd are Ameritech Holdings and Bell Atlantic Holdings Ltd of the U.S.A. Ericsson Cellular Ltd is owned by Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson of Sweden.
DowElanco (NZ) Ltd, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire approximately 16 hectares of land in Paritutu Road, New Plymouth, Taranaki from the Taranaki Regional Council for $1,700,000. Part of the land is in Maori Reserve 6 Omata District. It is presumably the land on which Dows agricultural chemical factory is sited:
In a decision originally almost completely suppressed and released only on appeal in February 1998, Iplex Pipelines Ltd which is owned 75% by Crane Group Ltd of Australia, and 25% by Wavin BV of the Netherlands, has approval to acquire the business and assets of James Hardie Pipelines Ltd for $31,069,154. Wavin is owned 50% by Shell, and by the Overissel Water Authority, a "regional body". James Hardie Pipelines is a subsidiary of James Hardie Industries Ltd of Australia.
Crane already owns the Mico Wakefield Group, a "leading" distributor of metals, fasteners, plumbing supplies and pipeline systems. "Wavin BV is the leading manufacturer and supplier of plastic pipes and fittings within Europe." The takeover is part of the acquisition by Wavin and Crane of James Hardie Pipelines businesses in Australia, Aotearoa, Singapore and Malaysia.
At 6/3/97, James Hardie was 27.9% owned by Brierley Investments Ltd, which in its report to shareholders of that date emphasised James Hardies fibre cement and wallboard business and foreshadowed this sale, saying:
Mancon Berhad of Malaysia has approval to take 51% of Quercus Investments Ltd which has a perpetual lease over just over two hectares of land in the Viaduct Basin in the central business district of Auckland. Quercus is owned by Heng Holdings S.E.A. (Pte) Ltd of Singapore. The consideration for the acquisition is $51 plus shareholder loans of "approximately $6.6 million".
For further details see our commentary on the March decisions.
In a decision originally almost completely suppressed and released only in February 1998 on appeal, Amtrust Pacific Ltd, which is owned by Michael and George Karfunkel of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire the Price Waterhouse Centre on the corner of Hobson, Wyndham and Federal Streets, Auckland, for $82,750,000 from Aoyama Development (NZ) Ltd of Japan. The Centre is on 0.3577 hectares of land.
Amtrust was formerly known as Gulf Resources Pacific Ltd and City Realties Ltd, which were highly controversial companies due to their flight from environmental responsibilities in the U.S.A., and their business practices in Aotearoa (see for example our commentaries on the October 1991 and January 1996 OIC decisions).
Now, "Amtrust intend to embark on an expansion programme with the intent to grow the companys current asset base to between NZ$500 million to NZ$600 million over the next year".
New Zealand Sugar Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Colonial Sugar Refinery of Australia, has approval to acquire nine hectares of land on the Waitemata Harbour foreshore belonging to Ports of Auckland Ltd, for $975,000. The land, in Birkenhead, is part of the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, and New Zealand Sugar has leased it since 1927. It also owns approximately 80% of the property surrounding the land.
Dynasty Pacifc Group has set up the Pacific Hotel Trust, which it owns 25%, to own The Heritage Queenstown, The Heritage Christchurch, Citylife Wellington, Citylife Auckland, and The Heritage Auckland. It includes 0.7663 hectares on Fernhill Road, Queenstown, Otago, where the Heritage Queenstown is situated. The other 75% will be owned by other persons "who may be overseas persons". The Trust is paying $85,000,000 for the properties.
Dynasty Pacific is owned 36.5% by the Tang Family of Singapore, 41.0% by the Tan Family of Singapore, 10.0% by Mr Pang of Singapore, and 2.5% by the Horsburgh Family of Aotearoa. These associates have been involved in a number of property and accommodation schemes, including the Pacific Group Ltd, The Habitat Group, Firle Holdings Ltd, and New Zealand Land Ltd. The Tang family controls the Singaporean hotel operator, Dynasty Hotels International. Closely associated is the Symphony Group Ltd which is controlled by Colin Reynolds and family. It developed a number of apartment projects in Auckland and took over the Greenstone Lodge suite and apartment complex development in Queenstown. The same parties were involved in the hotel/apartment "Heritage" development of the old Government Building and Carucca House in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. See for example our commentary on the November 1996 OIC decisions.
Renovo Eleven Inc, a subsidiary of Dana Commercial Credit Corporation of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire "sub-franchise rights and royalties in relation to the use of the Novotel trade name in New Zealand" from AAPC (Cyprus) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Accor Group of France. The price is "the payment of royalty payments which may exceed $10 million". AAPC (Cyprus) holds the Novotel hotel master franchise in some countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Aotearoa. AAPC (Cyprus) propose granting a sub-franchise to Renovo to use the Novotel name in Aotearoa, subject to existing sub-franchises already granted to AAPC NZ Pty Ltd and AAPC Properties Pty Ltd, both of which will pay royalties to Renovo.
Accor Asia/Pacific Corporation (AAPC) owns the Novotel Hotel in Wellington, Novotel Auckland and Holiday Inn Queenstown. It is the largest hotel company in the Asia/Pacific region with 135 hotels and 25,000 rooms in 15 countries (TravelAsia Online, "Accor to take second bite at SPHC", by Ian Jarrett, 25/7/97, http://-www.travel-asia.com/-07_25_97/-stories/-accor.htm). See for example our commentary on the October 1997 OIC decisions.
This decision was originally almost completely suppressed, and released only in February 1998 on appeal.
Springtime SA, incorporated in Luxembourg, has approval to acquire Sellotape New Zealand Ltd from Sellotape Products (NZ) Ltd, a subsidiary of Sellotape International BV of the Netherlands. The parent company has separated its business into industrial and consumer divisions, selling the latter (which includes Sellotape New Zealand) to former senior management. The shareholding in Springtime is held by "The Sellotape Holding Sarl, the ultimate beneficiary of which is Franck Ullmann Hamon (85%), and Rory Cullinan (15%)".
Alberto Finol of Caracas, Venezuela, has approval to acquire just under four hectares of land on Western Drain Road, Whakatane, Bay of Plenty for "approximately $114,480". The purchase has an interesting background.
In December 1996, we reported that
The land in the current decision forms a corner of that property (a dairy farm) and will be farmed in conjunction with it. Finol is described as "the controlling owner of a substantial number of entities involved in the dairy business and trade".
However in July 1997, the OIC refused to allow Finol to buy further land in the Bay of Plenty for dairy farming. This is a review of that decision. It is not made clear why this application was approved while the previous one was refused.
Hamurana Gardens Ltd, owned by Dr Ming-Liang Huang of Taiwan, has approval to acquire 19 hectares of land on Turner Road, Hamurana, Rotorua, for $415,000.
The original land was acquired for a peppercorn: we reported in October 1995 that
The OIC does not mention that in July 1996, as we reported,
New Zealand Petroleum Company Ltd, which is owned 29.905% by Triton Energy Corporation of Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., and 29.45% by "various other overseas shareholders", has approval to acquire three substantial areas of "natural" forest from Timber Holdings Ltd. Timber Holdings will receive 10 million shares (or 34.2%) of the ordinary shares of New Zealand Petroleum in partial payment, reducing Tritons percentage to 19.7%. The price for the three areas of land is given as "between $7,700,000 and $8,300,000" although it is not clear if that includes the shares.
The three forest areas are:
Rayonier New Zealand Ltd, a subsidiary of Rayonier Inc. of the U.S.A., gained approval to acquire forestry cutting rights to 850 hectares of land near Kawhia, Waikato, adjoining the foreshore of Kawhia Harbour. The price paid was originally suppressed but was released on appeal in February 1998: $13,250,000. The rights are being acquired from The Crown and Tainui Kawhia Incorporation who have a lease agreement for the land.
Mrs Siau Lin Chong of Singapore, who has been granted permanent residency status, has approval to acquire approximately 861 hectares of Woodbine Station at Kinlock, Glenorchy, Queenstown, Otago, on the south bank of Lake Wakatipu and the Dart River. It adjoins the Kinloch Recreational Reserve and the Routeburn Scenic Reserve and comprises 397 hectares of freehold land and 464 hectares currently Pastoral Lease but "to be freeholded following a tenure review". The price is $1.7 million and the vendors are A.G. and L.P. Bowes of the U.K.
However this is not entirely consistent with the stations previous sale. In February 1992 we reported that the Bowes company, Merion Systems Ltd, was buying the 2,501 hectare Woodbine Station for $1.3 million plus stock and plant. It appears they are now breaking it up at a substantial profit.
The OIC has refused approval for Fairnet International Ltd to acquire land for crop farming in Canterbury. The area of the land and the proposed price have been suppressed. Fairnet is owned 95% by a national of Taiwan, and the remainder by nationals of Australia and Aotearoa.