Beleaguered South Canterbury Finance (SCF) said this morning it remained in talks with interested parties as it strives to pull together a recapitalisation, but said success was no certainty.
(Updated with PwC confirming report on Hubbard's affairs; Green Party).
SCF, which has a waiver to a Trust Deed breach until tomorrow, faces receivership within days if it cannot convince the government to back a recapitalisation proposal now sitting before Treasury. Cabinet is expected to consider the proposal today and receivership is highly likely within the ensuing 48 hours without that further financial support from the taxpayer.
The company's statement follows a Fairfax report linking Sydney-based Infratil investor Duncan Saville to SCF and one from Radio New Zealand linking private equity firm Clearwater Capital Partners to SCF.
Read SCF's statement below:
South Canterbury Finance announced today that it is still in discussions with interested parties in an endeavour to put together a recapitalisation and restructuring solution acceptable to all stakeholders.
In view of recent media speculation, the Company also announced that there can be no certainty that the proposals it has been pursuing will be successfully implemented. The Company expects to be in a position to make an announcement to the market on Tuesday 31 August.
Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers has confirmed it wrote a report on Allan Hubbard's financial affairs, but has not disclosed what was in it. Supporters of Hubbard have said it cleared him of wrong doing.
PwC Partner Maurice Noone said: "We have been engaged by Russell McVeagh, who are acting for Mr Hubbard. No public report has been issued by us, and as will be appreciated, we must respect client confidentiality."
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the government should act to prevent South Island farmland from falling into foreign hands.
“South Canterbury Finance owns a significant chunk of prime South Island farmland. John Key’s Government needs to move quickly to ensure this does not all fall into the hands of foreign owners,” Norman said.
“The Government appears to have two stark choices to prevent this farmland falling into foreign ownership: It can tighten the overseas investment laws to restrict foreign ownership of large parcels of farmland," he said.
“The best option would see the Government take an equity stake in the finance company retaining control of the fate of the farmland and enabling an orderly restructuring of the company. This is much like how the financial crisis has been managed abroad, where governments took equity stakes in failing banks."
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