31 May 2010

Allan Hubbard steps aside as SCF chairman

9:26 am on 31 May 2010

South Canterbury Finance's owner, Allan Hubbard, has stepped aside as chairman of the company, just as the South Island lender had its credit rating downgraded.

Mr Hubbard, whose Southbury Group earlier this year sold its 100% stake in Helicopters New Zealand, and 64% shareholding in apple producer Scales to South Canterbury, had previously indicated he was keen to stand aside.

He says a new chairman will help to focus the company on finding a new equity partner and improving liquidity - but he will still have an involvement in the company, becoming president for life.

Full credit not give, says Maier

Standard and Poor's has just downgraded South Canterbury's credit rating from B+ to BB, saying the restoration of its financial profile hadn't been quick or sufficient enough.

But SCF chief executive Sandy Maier says the downgrade doesn't give the company full credit for the progress it has made.

Since the company's restructure, Mr Maier says, it has increased its cash balance substantially, improved investor retention and is making excellent progress with reducing the debenture maturity profile.

The downgrade doesn't affect SCF's participation in the Government's extended retail deposit scheme, because it has already been accepted.