15 Dec 2010

SCF receivers to sell Dairy Holdings stake

12:25 pm on 15 December 2010

The receivers of South Canterbury Finance plan to sell the company's stake in Dairy Holdings.

South Canterbury Finance, founded by Timaru businessman Alan Hubbard, was placed in receivership in August, costing taxpayers nearly $1.8 billion under the Government's guarantee scheme.

One of the finance firm's key assets was its 33.6% stake in Dairy Holdings, a company which operates 58 dairy farms, mainly in the South Island.

It bought the shares from Mr Hubbard's investment concern, Southbury Group, for $76 million.

A receiver with McGrathNicol, Kerryn Downey, says he's reached an agreement with four other shareholders to sell a 62.5% shareholding in the company.

The stake includes South Canterbury's shares, another 25% stake owned by three US investors, and a 4% shareholding owned by Humphry Rolleston.

The American investors and Mr Rolleston, who's had business links with Alan Hubbard, have recently attempted to sell, which Mr Rolleston says attracted strong interest.

But he says the opportunity to buy a larger, majority stake should be more attractive to potential investors.

Mr Downey says it's possible that more than 62.5% of the company could be sold, depending on whether other shareholders also choose to sell their stakes.

The sale process will begin before Christmas, and First NZ Capital and Murray & Company, will act as joint sale advisers.