By Gareth Vaughan
The receiver of South Canterbury Finance (SCF) is welcoming a decision by the Christchurch City Council to allow a residential development on 64 hectares of land owned by SCF on the outskirts of Christchurch.
The council has approved a request from SCF's Belfast Park Ltd and Tyrone Estates Ltd in a move that should increase the value of the land in East Belfast on Christchurch's northern urban fringe.
McGrathNicol managing partner and SCF receiver Kerryn Downey said he was pleased with the decision, acknowledging it would boost the land's value.
"It satisfies, or in fact, deals with any uncertainty," Downey told interest.co.nz.
"We've got our asset management people working through the terms of that consent in terms of the specifics and conditions," he added.
Belfast Park's first receiver's report notes as of August 31 last year it owed SCF NZ$14.3 million and ASB NZ$10.1 million. It had total assets, including NZ$13.56 million worth of development and investment properties, of NZ$22.7 million and total liabilities of NZ$24.6 million.
Tyrone Estates' receiver's report notes as of the same date it had total assets, including NZ$9.3 million of development and investment properties, of NZ$9.4 million and total liabilities, including NZ$7.9 million worth of loans from Belfast Park and SCF, of NZ$8 million.
The council approval sees the rezoning of about 64 hectares from "Rural 3" to "Living G" to provide for mixed density residential development along with small areas of commercial and industrial land. Belfast Park also owns an adjacent block of business zoned land that was formerly the Canterbury Freezing Works site run by Silver Fern Farms. Consents have been granted for the redevelopment of that site for commercial activities. See the recommendations to the Council here.
Although the obvious route for the receiver would be to sell the land, Downey said all options, including keeping it, were on the table with no immediate plans to put it on the block.
"When we have fully understood the terms of the planning decision and assessed our options we will follow the cause of action which maximises the value," said Downey.
"We'll follow the option that presents the greatest value ultimately to the taxpayer of New Zealand," he added.
McGrathNicol was appointed SCF receiver on August 31 last year when a waiver to a breach of the company’s trust deed expired and it failed to secure up to NZ$300 million of much needed new equity.
The receivership triggered a NZ$1.6 billion payout to 35,000 SCF investors under the Crown retail deposit guarantee scheme and a NZ$175 million Crown loan to McGrathNicol so it could repay SCF's prior charge holders including the George Kerr chaired Pyne Gould Corporation subsidiary Torchlight.
McGrathNicol is looking to sell other SCF assets including Helicopters NZ, an 80% stake in Scales Corp, a 33.5% stake in dairy farming group Dairy Holdings, and SCF's core finance operations.
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