BusinessDesk: SOE KiwiRail proposes NZ$6 bln writedown of assets, overhaul of capital structure

BusinessDesk: SOE KiwiRail proposes NZ$6 bln writedown of assets, overhaul of capital structure

KiwiRail, the state-owned railroad, has proposed writing down its assets by $6 billion, almost halving their current value which is too high given the commercial realities of the business.

Under the proposed balance sheet restructure, the business would be split into two entities – a statutory body, NZRC, will hold the rail corridor land currently valued at about NZ$5 billion.

KiwiRail would be the commercial arm, owning the rolling stock, ferry assets, commercial properties and rail infrastructure, chairman John Spencer said in a presentation at the annual meeting in Wellington.

“While this process is still a proposal while we work through the technical details it is clear that the current valuation of NZ$13 billion for our assets based on replacement cost is not an appropriate valuation for the business,” Spencer said.

“We have recommended to our shareholder (the government) that we change the company entity structure and value our assets according to their productive earning value,” he said.

Under the proposal, the value of the railroad’s commercial assets would be slashed to about NZ$1 billion, a writedown of about NZ$6 billion, Spencer said. Both entities would have a common board though details of the commercial arrangement haven’t been decided.

The company has been “working constructively” with government officials over the past 12 months and hopes to have the restructure completed by the start of the 2012 financial year, depending on resolving the legal structure and tax issues.

The restructure means the business will be cash negative for its first five to seven years. Profit fell 83 percent to NZ$34 million in the railroad’s latest year as it recognised a loss on the transfer of assets to Greater Wellington Regional Council and recorded a decline in government grant income that reflected completion of projects.

Operating revenue climbed 2.6 percent to NZ$667.4 million. It was the first year the company hadn’t received an annual NZ$90 million operating grant from the government.

Instead it receives funding for specific projects. The annual results missed the targets in the KiwiRail’s statement of corporate intent, with operating revenue 2.6 percent below the projected NZ$685 million, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation were short by about NZ$20 million. The shortfall reflected disruptions from the Christchurch earthquakes and loss of Pike River Mine volumes.

Chief executive Jim Quinn said the company is working hard to make up the shortfall. Spencer also defended the decision to buy rolling stock and locomotives from overseas manufacturers rather than use its own engineering workshops.

“We have had to make tough purchasing decisions, but we have a finite amount to spend in many areas to get this business functioning efficiently and safely,” Spencer said.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


yeah whats $ 6 billion amoung friends - peanuts. Thanks for buying back a lemon Kullen,

This will make it much easier for the govt's business friends to sell it off to Hooflungdung Corporation of China for a massive profit, after those mates got it for a song from Johnny, Jerry and Billy.

And of course the NZ taxpayer won't even get so much as a sniff of either sales.

Earth calling labour supporters...!!!! 

Where is Mr Goff?