Archive | Gainz

Force and MTM back in High Court

Question to be decided: which plan should completion be based on?

Force Corporation and the MTM Entertainment Trust of Australia were back in court today to resume their dispute which will decide who must own the Force Entertainment Centre on Queen St in Auckland.

Force developed the centre, used MTM money in doing so and had an agreement to sell it to MTM. The price was to be determined after practical completion. When work began it was touted as a $75 million project and when MTM floated in 1998, the centre accounted for 35% of the new trust’s assets at $A62 million, which translated to $NZ71 million on the exchange rate used.

MTM Funds Management Ltd, the management company which ran this trust and another MTM trust which owns a single Sydney office block, has also been embroiled in a battle to retain its job running the office trust this year, finally losing out to James Fielding Investments Ltd, set up by Paladin founder Greg Paramor and Rod Leaver.

Practical completion was required by 30 December 1999. A certificate of practical completion was filed that day by the project architect, Ashley Gillard-Allen of Walker Co Partnership, but MTM took Force to court claiming practical completion was not achieved. Weeks later, MTM filed more proceedings alleging deficiencies in the certificate as well as failure to complete.

In the High Court this week, the parties are seeking to resolve what constitute the plans on which the practical completion decision would be based.

Once that basis is decided by Justice Hugh Williams, a nominated architect, Russell Hawken, will decide the practical completion issue. Only then can the ownership position be decided.

Neither party is jumping at the prospect.

MTM Funds Management, already minus its office trust after a performance which didn’t satisfy magnate Kerry Packer, is fighting to survive in a tough Australian trust management market. The entertainment trust declared an $A29.6 million loss for the year to June, while Force declared an $NZ7 million loss.

One of the attractions of the Queen St centre, the Imax big screen, proved a troublesome feature when its management company, Cinema Plus, went into receivership on both sides of the Tasman, and the other major feature, Planet Hollywood, struck financial trouble back in the US and couldn’t find a local partner. Force is managing both businesses in Queen St.

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February sales up 6.3%

Auckland rise dead on average

Retail sales rose $240 million, or 6.3%, to $4.05 billion in February, compared to February 2002.

Excluding vehicle retailing, the percentage rise was 6.4%. Car sales rose only 0.1% to $577.9 million, while vehicle services rose 12.6% to $606.5 million.

Double-digit category rises were recorded by furniture & floorcoverings, up 13% to $103.4 million, cafés, restaurants & takeaways, up 12.5% to $301.9 million, and accommodation, hotels & liquor, up 11.1% to $378.6 million.

Appliance sales fell 4.9% to $115.9 million, personal & household services fell 2% to $106.8 million and recreation goods sales fell 0.1% to $159.9 million.

Sales in Auckland moved by the national average of 6.3%, to $1.314 billion. Sales in the South Island outside Canterbury rose 10.2% to $465.9 million and sales in the Waikato rose 8.9% to $404.3 million.

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Fletcher Challenge Forests posts $1.3 billion group loss

Crop writedowns/revaluations worth $2500/ha after tax

Fletcher Challenge Forests Ltd said today it had cleared the decks in posting a $749 million loss for the June year, but there are still some lingering unquantified disputes related to the Central North Island Forest Partnership and claims by partner Citic, of China.

And the loss looms larger at the Fletcher Challenge Forests Group level, before the picture gets better. By emphasising the partnership difficulties and costs, Fletcher Challenge Forests has effectively played down the significant effects of revaluations to the forest crop, which amount to a cut in basic earnings from its 300,000ha of owned or managed forest land before corporate factors and manufacturing are taken into account.

The $752 million in those writedowns, much of it from a year-end change in accounting policy from historic to market value, cuts the value of aftertax earnings/ha by $2500.

The company pro forma result for the year shows a $533 million aftertax writedown of the partnership, another $39 million of writedowns, and a $174 million aftertax downward revaluation of the forest assets, giving net earnings before all those factors of a negative $3 million.

Post-restructure accounting change has serious impact

Further writeoff and revaluation of the forest crop in the Group result shows another $578 million written off, after tax, for a $1.324 billion loss for the group after tax and minorities. The additional revaluation loss resulted from a change of accounting policy at balance date, from an historical cost to market value basis.

Forests is the remnant of the Fletcher Challenge conglomerate, broken up at the start of the year, so its balance sheet is the one that shows several billion dollars of “discontinued business” for the parts that are now going their own way.

Earnings before interest, tax, unusuals and accrued interest from the Central North Island partnership amounted to $3 million on the $648 million revenue, compared to $28 million on $623 million in 2000, and $18 million on $545 million in 1999.

Chief executive Terry McFadgen said the 15% rise in US sales was the highlight of the past year. The Australian residential construction industry fell 40% and New Zealand was 15% below long-term levels.

He said Australian housing activity was set to lift, with an accompanying rise in product prices. Korea’s construction industry was growing, new opportunities were emerging in India and the Philippines, and Chinese demand for imported wood was growing.

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Warehouse profit up 7.7% to $52m

Earnings/share up 5.4%, expansion continues

The greatly enlarged Warehouse group increased net profit after tax by 7.7% to $52 million on operating revenue up 50% to $924 million and an operating surplus before unusuals and tax up 10.4% to $81.8 million in the six months ended 31 January.

Shareholders’ equity rose 54% to $259 million, earnings/share rose 5.4% to 17.7c, the fully imputed 8.5c interim dividend at 50% payout of taxpaid profits is the same as a year earlier after adjusting for the taxable bonus issue.

Performance comparisons are largely meaningless because of the enormous change in the group, not just from its Australian acquisition of the Clint’s and Solly’s chains but from the big New Zealand floorspace increase, made up of new stores, expansions and replacements.

The replacements, especially, make comparisons difficult, because they are often a bigger store in a slightly different location, better premises serving the same but perhaps expanded market. They will earn more in their new state.

NZ sales up 12.9%, but operating margins slip

Overall New Zealand sales rose 12.9%, The Warehouse stores’ by 11.2% to $638 million, Warehouse Stationery’s by 48.4% to $42 million. The company estimates its $233 million of Australian sales were 19.8% higher than pre-acquisition.

New Zealand group operating margins fell from 12.5% to 12.2%, The Warehouse’s from 12.7% to 12.6%, Warehouse Stationery’s from 8.1% to 6.3% blamed on higher paper prices, business machine sales with lower margins and additional infrastructure investment.

The Australian group operating margin was 4.1%. Blame for keeping that down was laid on gst, higher fuel prices, exchange rate, Olympic disruption and owner transition disruption.

Group profit margin fell from 8% to 5.7%, which the company said reflected lower Australian earnings and amortisation of goodwill ($4 million) from the acquisition.

The Warehouse npat margin fell from 8.2% to 8%, Warehouse Stationery’s from 5.1% to 3.8%, the Australian margin 0.2% after amortisation.

The Australian acquisition was the main contributor to increasing total assets 75% to $649 million and 494% debt increase to $219 million. Net interest cover fell from 32.2 times to 11.4 times.

Store development increases floorspace 19.3%

Five new Warehouse stores were built, three replacements and seven extensions for a total of 74 at balance date, an overall increase of 19.3% to 299,353m² of retail space. The chain intends to add one new store and extend two others in the next six months, for a 7200m² floorspace increase. By July 2003 the chain should have 80 stores.

Warehouse Stationery opened eight new stores for a total of 32, up 36% to 36,256m² in floorspace. It will open one more store in the next six months.

In Australia, the group has 135,993m² of floorspace in 117 stores, with six additions to come by the end of July. The Australian group is also developing two stores with the Harvey Norman Group and intends to co-operate in more openings.

The company has a wad of comparisons for the start of the new year’s trading, all well above a year earlier, and even higher when adjustment is made for the extra trading day last February. New Zealand group sales rose 18%, 22% on adjustment. The Warehouse’s sales rose 15.3%, 18.7% adjusted, 5.8% same store, 8.9% same store adjusted. Warehouse Stationery’s sale rose 44.3%, 49.8% adjusted, same store 23.4%, 27.4% adjusted. Clint’s and Solly’s rose 1.3%, 4% adjusted.

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$804 million trade surplus for March year

Big turnaround (but no big-ticket items either)

New Zealand achieved an estimated $804 million trade surplus for the March 2002 year — the first since 1995 and a big turnaround after deficits of $1.2 billion in 1999, $3.3 billion in 2000 and $927 million in 2001.

But there are caveats on how good the picture really is. One notable absence from the scene comes in Statistics NZ’s “large import items” column — a zero where there is usually a hefty spend on aircraft, parts or ships. With a crippled airline and a restructure of defence forces which hasn’t resulted in any major equipment imports yet, the absence of these big-ticket items certainly helps the trade balance but can also be judged as deferred spending.

Exports rose 9.3% in the March 2000 year then leapt 24.1% — nearly $6 billion, to $30.5 billion — in the March 2001 year. The latest figures show a 7.1% rise on that to $32.7 billion.

On the debit side, 2 large lifts in 2000-01 — 17.7% & 12.7% — kept imports above exports. The rise in the latest year was only 1.4%, the smallest shift in imports since a 0.7% decline in the March 1997 year, and took the merchandise imports total to $31.9 million.

Seen on a monthly basis (compared to the same month the previous year), overseas merchandise exports were strong through to last July, with rises ranging from 14-33.7%. Over the past 6 months there have been 3 falls, making the March 3.1% gain look outstanding — which, at $3 billion, it was: over the past 2 years only May 2001 was better, with exports of $3.2 billion. Imports, on the other hand, have topped $3 billion 4 times over the same period.

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Westfield Trust raises profit 8%

Diluted earnings/unit up 1%

Westfield Trust increased its after-tax profit 8% to $A475.8 million in the year to 31 December from $A9.7 billion of assets, up 7.8%.

The trust increased revenue from trading activities by 13.7% to $A892.5 million, but overall revenue was down because of an $A181 million gain from asset sales last year (nothing this time).

Net asset backing was increased 4.7%, from $A2.95/unit to $A3.09/unit, mostly from the revaluation of 10 Australian & 3 New Zealand shopping centres.

Westfield increased its revaluation reserves by $A156.4 million in 2001, and by another $A254.8 million in 2002.

Basic earnings/unit from trading activities were increased 2.7% to A23.55c/unit, but after earnings from asset sales (nothing, compared to A0.39c/unit in 2001), the gain was 1% on a diluted basis. About 35% of the distribution will be tax advantaged.

Retail sales in the trust’s 29 Australian shopping centres rose 6.2% to $A9 billion, or 4.8% on a same-store basis. Same-store specialty sales rose 5.9%.

In the 12 New Zealand centres, sales rose 3.7% to $NZ1.5 billion, or 2.6% same-store.

Occupancy was above 99%.

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Some examination of the company as Trans Tasman shareholders reject bond swap

Noteholders agree to swap

Trans Tasman Properties Ltd shareholders voted overwhelmingly on Monday to stay shareholders. Noteholders voted by an even bigger margin to turn themselves into bondholders.

It’s a result which will benefit the company. The terms of the trust deed for the convertible capital notes prevented Trans Tasman from paying a dividend.

Without that restriction hanging over the shares, part of the share price discount may be removed — even though the company is not about to pay a dividend.

The vote against converting all the company’s shares into bonds gives Trans Tasman more leeway with cashflow than if it had been tied to a fixed bond interest payout.

It may still be some time before portfolio writedowns stop. But institutional shareholders voted strongly to keep their shares so they can take advantage of capital growth coming from a market upswing, and at least some of the smaller investors at Monday’s series of meetings seemed to be swayed by that thinking.

Resentment flowed freely

The votes on Trans Tasman’s future structure followed an annual meeting where resentment over a low share price and lack of dividend flowed fairly freely. And although the bond offer to shareholders was at a price (35c) above market (22-23c), it was only half the 70c net tangible asset value.

Only at the very end of the last of these meetings was the very obvious explanation given, by executive director Chris Canning, as to why there should be this large margin between asset value and bond swap value. He said small shareholders, in the bond swap, were to get 10-year fixed-interest securities with a 10% coupon, while the major shareholder, SEA Holdings of Hong Kong, would receive no dividend equivalent. SEA’s benefit would have come from capital growth.

“It was very finely balanced,” Mr Canning said.

Explanation lacking in appraisal

Grant Samuel, in its appraisal of the bonds offer, did a discounted cashflow exercise on the Trans Tasman portfolio to show a share valuation in the 30-40c range, which would make the bond offer look fair in a share-NTA comparison.

But it didn’t do a similar upward exercise to compare the value of the bonds, including interest payments over 10 years, to NTA. A simple version would show that 10 years of 10% returns will double the initial 35c to 70c — therefore apparent equality.

Small shareholder thoughts

Simple versions are what you get at listed-company meetings. Mostly, complicated thought bypasses the bulk of those who attend.

An example: “At 70c versus 35c, it seems to favour the larger shareholder over the smaller.” Executive chairman and managing director Don Fletcher’s response: “That doesn’t seem to be the conclusion of the major institutional shareholders who are voting today.”

A second example: “I wonder why I should give SEA 65c in the dollar for nothing.” That is to assume the shares are worth $1, which hasn’t been the case for a long time.

Eyes on capital growth

If SEA managing director Jesse Lu’s local representative of the past decade, Mr Fletcher (right), is right about the commercial property market in New Zealand, holding shares would be a good option because their value should rise along with anticipated capital growth in the property portfolio.

One shareholder asked the questions: How much further will the properties be valued down, and how much over-renting is left?

Said Mr Fletcher: “The company is of the view that we are close to the bottom of the property cycle — and it’s taken about 10 years to say, but rents are firming slightly in Wellington and have stopped dropping in Auckland. With an average weighted lease life of over six years, we’re set to take advantage of any upturn. We have 3-4 properties that are still over-rented from the 80s.”

As for coming out of a long cyclical downturn, “I don’t say it’s next month, it could be a year or two away.”

Mr Fletcher brought Mr Lu’s money to New Zealand 10 years ago, in the belief that 1991 was a turning point. Two years later it was worse, and at no time since early 1987 has the New Zealand commercial property market looked remotely strong. Even now, the spread of new development to places like Greenlane and Albany has weakened the potential gains of central business district property ownership, where Trans Tasman is most strongly represented.

The company’s vacant Star site between Fort and Shortland Sts in the Auckland cbd is a prime example of property that can’t be improved: it had a head tenant for a tower of about 20 storeys, but was competing against Kiwi Income and then AMP, as well as against several other development sites, and lost the development race.

Company thinking now is that something smaller would work, for a smaller return but better than being a short-term carpark.

Many of the company’s buildings require serious spending on refurbishment to attract new tenants, adding to the disadvantages faced by a stock which has tumbled from great heights — a fact which is still a primary consideration for many small shareholders.

Trans Tasman has made it clear in recent pronouncements that while commercial property is being marked downward it will produce losses because it can’t transfer valuation writedowns to reserves.

Fletcher gets borax, but explains the market anyway

Mr Fletcher made two points about other property stocks — one, that other property companies which had suffered writedowns had chosen to pay dividends out of what would be capital, and the other point that since 1987 various organisations had treated their property assets in quite different ways.

Mr Fletcher took a welter of personal and sometimes spiteful stick during the series of meetings — down to questions on where he lives, the car he drives, where he was at the time of last year’s annual meeting (Harvard) and what on earth was the value to the company in that, who paid for his study (he did) — but responded with jetlag restraint.

He would undoubtedly be able to argue his case more persuasively for an audience which doesn’t receive dividends and sees its shares slide in value if he didn’t get paid so much for running the company, which many see as being a charge on them to the major shareholder’s benefit.

But he bit when one shareholder suggested that, “having things go down slowly over 10 years… you would have looked after your shareholders better than you have… I think there’s been misinformation and lack of honesty with shareholders… If management didn’t get paid there would be changes a lot faster than has happened.”

Quitting NZ years ago would have made sense

The bite was probably fruitful for investors, because Mr Fletcher spoke off the cuff about investment policy. “There was, I think, an opportunity to get out of New Zealand over the last 10 years and invest in Australia. I think as New Zealanders we all hope the market will turn around. But we [SEA, Trans Tasman] chose to stay with it and now have to sit it out.”

Mr Fletcher went on to say the company’s property management was very good, and that all property companies trying to survive through the same long tough period would have suffered the same sort of discounts, but chose to handle the experience in different ways.

“The insurance companies took their losses quietly and internally, then started trusts and haven’t had to carry losses over a long time.”

Mr Fletcher said he didn’t regret sticking with the New Zealand market, though if Trans Tasman [or SEA] had taken its money to Australia or some other high-growth country it would have recovered earlier.”

Plenty of ironies

There are ironies about the whole Trans Tasman debacle.

One is that its Australian company, Australian Growth Properties, is performing well, has a high-quality new development on George St, the heart of the Sydney development district, and it’s close to fully occupied.

Another is that the “suits,” the institutional representatives who invested in cash return company Seabil then saw growth evaporating because that over-renting wasn’t going to disappear, the suits voted heavily in favour of a merger with Tasman Properties (the former Robt Jones Investments) in 1995 as they saw that company’s gearing falling and the potential for capital growth. Instead, Tasman’s high-debt problem remained, enough of the over-renting remained to be a serious problem, and the notion of supporting Jesse Lu through his twin investment disasters was a tough call.

This time the suits’ bench was empty as they voted by proxy to join Mr Lu in the new search for capital growth.

The Brierley factors

A third irony was the sight of Brierley henchman Tony Gibbs on the sideline at the Trans Tasman meetings. Sir Ron Brierley was still a force at Brierley Investments Ltd in 1994 when it and Fletcher Challenge sold office portfolios into Seabil, in which Mr Lu was the new outside investor.

Now Sir Ron is at Guinness Peat Group, which has bought 3% of Trans Tasman and about 6% of Australian Growth Properties. GPG tried to get a change in the Trans Tasman-held shares to be cancelled at AGP but did not address the company’s recent annual meeting on the issue. In Auckland, Mr Gibbs also did not speak on what he wants to see happen with the company.

And there are the ordinary small shareholders, most of whom don’t say much and some of whom expressed considerable ignorance. A few critics, such as Herald columnist Brian Gaynor, spoke out, but for the most part at this series of meetings it was nitpicking rather than significant points on the structure and substance of the group.

Donations before dividends

One issue seized upon by shareholders was the donations made by Trans Tasman over the year — $26,669 to four organisations, one of which has been a beneficiary of the company for several years and was the subject of attention, the Alan Duff Foundation’s Books in Homes project.

Its worthiness wasn’t in question, though Mr Gaynor did ask for the basis on which the company selected charities. The subject surfaced several times, each time moving into detail and further from the substantive question, which was: Why is the company giving its money away when it makes a loss and can’t afford to pay dividends to its owners, the small shareholders?

Mr Fletcher said the board would consider cancelling its donations if there was enough opposition to them, and would certainly review the whole policy.

The second of these two points has merit: The company’s board should know what its policies are and be able to express them. But the basic question of giving money away when you can’t pay the owners was shelved.

When an annual meeting gets down to that level of churlishness, of questioning individual charitable donations rather than the principles of corporate governance, you have to ask how the meeting and the company are run, but also what these investors are doing in a company with which they appear so dissatisfied.

Disenchantment produces censure motion

It wasn’t surprising, given this degree of animosity between Mr Fletcher, in particular, and many small shareholders, to see the hands rise in support of a motion of management censure.

Mr Fletcher explained that a motion censuring the board couldn’t be put, but one censuring “management” would be allowed as a non-binding motion. The motion, whose rationale is still incomprehensible to me, was that “management be censured for placing the operations of the company in a conflict of interest situation.”

The shareholder allegation was that the company was intertwining its affairs with those of its majority shareholder, SEA, and the managing director (and executive chairman), Mr Fletcher, was an SEA employee. Quite how this might disadvantage the company wasn’t explained.

Mr Gaynor wanted the content of this motion added to the company’s release to the stock exchange: “If you hide motions like this, it is telling the shareholders that you are not taking any notice of them.”

However another shareholder suggested that, “if you want to see the share value [for value, read price] plunge, pass this motion.”

After the initial enthusiastic hand-raising, when Mr Fletcher called for a vote to end the discussion he declared the motion clearly lost.

Directors also under fire at election

He then had to run a poll on the appointment of two directors, executive director Rod Hodge and Brookfields law firm partner John Ferner, who joined the board last June.

Mr Ferner cleared the fence with 99.6% poll support. On a show of hands, Mr Hodge would probably have lost. In the poll, he won 94.9% support.

One shareholder voting against him said Mr Hodge, who was Seabil’s and then Trans Tasman’s financial controller, was always most helpful but the company needed some independent directors.

Annual report explains new company direction

Compare all that unhappiness with this forward-looking statement in the Trans Tasman’s annual report: “The company is conscious of the age of its portfolio. Most of its properties were developed in the last property cycle of the late 1980s. As such the company has expanded its focus to developing new properties to increase the overall standard of its portfolio.”

Its six-storey, 3032m² development in the Maritime Square precinct has been 85% leased to Sun Microsystems. A buyer is expected to go unconditional early in June and to occupy the remaining floor. The $12 million building will return Trans Tasman well over 50% on equity and has enabled the company to set up the infrastructure for more development.

It is advancing plans for a Viaduct gateway site covering 24,655m² at the Westhaven end of Fanshawe St.

On the Star site: “While significant tenant interest was shown in the development, the company could not guarantee a satisfactory level of precommitment and investment return on the project. Development plans for this site have been shelved until tenant precommitments are received at levels which justify the development.”

These statements indicate a measure of caution combined with an ability to score a development margin in a period in which two large builders have collapsed and a developer has just defaulted on junk bond repayments.

But despite these demonstrated abilities, the future of Trans Tasman as a stock will probably remain bleak until the bitterness of the past is driven out.

Earlier stories: SEA offers bonds to take out minorities
Grant Samuel on the Trans Tasman offer: fair but risky

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General Motors shows a frightening way forward

Profit is the least likely outcome in this scenario

“No stock better exemplifies misguided faith at work than Dow component General Motors,” Daily Reckoning author Eric Fry wrote in his regular column on the US market.

The Daily Reckoning, its columnists & Apogee Research analysts keep telling their readers all is not well with the US economy. This latest piece uses General Motors to set out the state of play: “GM’s frightening investment profile should inspire far more fear than greed. And yet, the automaker’s shares have rallied a sparkling 18% since early March, contributing handsomely to the Dow’s 1000-point rally over the same time frame.”

Apogee Research recommended selling the stock short in early March. The rise in price eventually hit Apogee’s stop-loss limit and it has advised a temporary exit.

“For the time being, the bulls are ‘right’ about GM; their faith is serving them well. By contrast, Apogee’s well reasoned, sceptical analysis of the automaker has produced little more than weeping and gnashing of teeth, thus far.”

Credit business slipping, healthcare costs overwhelming

This is what Mr Fry and Apogee see at GM: It relies on its credit operations, that business is starting to sputter, meanwhile mounting pension & benefit obligations are a huge drag on equity.

GMAC, also known as GM’s financial & insurance operations unit, earned 70% of GM’s 1st quarter $US1 billion net income. Automotive division profits fell 16%. Mr Fry: “Some banks give away toasters to attract new customers. General Motors, apparently, gives away cars.”

GMAC’s mortgage income rose 64% last year, so mortgage lending contributed 29% of all GM’s net income. In the 1st quarter of 2003 mortgage lending contributed 38%.

Bad debts at GMAC have risen 160% in 3 years, compared to a 32% rise in earnings. S&P downgraded its credit rating last October to BBB, still investment grade but squeezing the margin.

Aggressive sales incentives have squeezed the operating margin, but cutting incentives would cost market share. GM is sticking with market share.

GM’s pension/benefits obligations rose 28% to $US77 billion last year, underfunding equal to nearly 20 times the average annual net $US3.9 billion annual income of the past 7 years. GM took a $US9.5 billion charge in 2001 and $US13.6 billion last year, cutting shareholders’ equity 80% in 2 years to about $US7 billion.

GM said its prescription drug costs (mostly for its pensioners) were rising at 15-20%, but it made only a 7.2% increase in health cost provision for this year. It had a 10% expected rate of return on its pension assets, but has cut that to 9% this year. The forecast is what goes into the accounts. The pension assets actually lost $US10.7 billion in the past 2 years.

GM spent $US4.2 billion looking after the health of 1.2 million people in 2001. Most are retired. Actual staff fell from 362,000 in 2001 to 349,000 last year.

That’s big business USA. Mr Fry can’t see General Motors turning long-term profits for a long time.

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Regional council consents & appeals

5 appeal changes, no new appeals

The Auckland Regional Council considers resource consent applications for matters such as earthworks, stormwater discharge & catchment effects.

The council also takes a stand on many resource consent applications before territorial local bodies around the region.

The regional council’s environmental management committee records consent activity at its monthly meetings, held on the 1st Tuesday of the month.

At its meeting on Tuesday 4 February, consents services officer Rachael Burke said the council had received no new appeals since 23 October 2002.

Among changes to consents since that date:

Auckland

Otahuhu, State Highway 1/Waiouru Peninsula connection, Otahuhu interchange to Bairds Rd & Waiouru Peninsula, 1 remaining issue heard in Environment Court 11 November, decision awaited.

Hobson Bay, Shore Rd, boardwalk, seawall & associated access structures, Auckland City Council, appeal by G&F Ricketts, Ken Yee/Don Wackrow/Roger Herrick, Hobson Bay Preservation Group, Philip Fava, Glamic Ten Ltd (Terry Jarvis), report on settlement discussions to Environment Court by 28 February.

Waiheke

Waiheke, Cowes Bay Rd, appeal by Auckland City Gulf ward councillor Faye Storer against granting Waikopu Lodge Ltd consent for boat ramp & wharf pontoon structures. Consent document filed with Environment Court 9 December after mediation.

North Shore

Takapuna & Albany, Esmonde Rd interchange & Constellation Drive, various consents for North Shore busway project. Settlement discussions taking place, hearing set for 28 June.

Devonport, Calliope Basin naval base, revised proposal for floating dock accepted in principle, draft conditions circulated, further Environment Court callover Friday 7 March.

Rodney

Redvale, Wilks Rd, earthworks, cleanfilling & quarrying of lime rock and development of residential airpark by Pauanui Developments Ltd & Redvale Lime Co Ltd (Paul, Dean & Tony Hopper), mediation suggested. 2nd application adjourned, report to Environment Court 28 March.

South Head, Te Kawa Pt, 30ha green-lipped mussel farm, Bio Marine Ltd (James Dollimore & Jonathan Nicholson), 3 February hearing adjourned pending aquaculture variation to regional coastal plan.

Consent decisions

Auckland

Mt Wellington, 103A/130A Waipuna Rd, 3.5ha of earthworks for commercial subdivision, Quadrant Properties Ltd (Barry Wither, John Kearns, David Levene), granted 5 November.

Mt Wellington, Tidey Rd & Gollan Rd, 4.4ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, Landco Mt Wellington Ltd (Greg Olliver), granted 19 November.

Mt Wellington, corner Lunn Ave & College Rd, 8ha of earthworks associated with cleanfill, Landco Mt Wellington Ltd (Greg Olliver), granted 23 December.

Auckland City, central motorway junction, 5.2ha of earthworks for upgrading of central motorway junction, extra link roads, Transit NZ Ltd, granted 23 December.

Mt Wellington, Ngahue Reserve, 12.5ha of earthworks for netball facility, Auckland City Council, granted 13 December.

Western Viaduct, 142-148 Beaumont St, 3500m² of earthworks to remove slipway, build boat stack, Orams Marine Auckland Ltd (Chris & Lynette Kempthorne), granted 6 November.

Franklin

Pukekohe, Paerata Rd, 3.4ha of earthworks for road & stormwater ponds, Highland Park subdivision stages 2 & 3, Highland Park Ltd (Vaughan Hickson), granted 12 November.

Manukau

Mangere, 670 Massey Rd, 4.6ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, Pukaki Properties Ltd (Vincent Carmine & Hirokuni Sai), granted 5 November.

Mangere, Auckland International Airport, up to 624ha of earthworks to develop the airport, Auckland International Airport Ltd, granted 18 December.

Manukau Central, 87 Price Rd, 38ha of earthworks for horse training facility, Hawkins Puhinui Ltd, (David McConnell), granted 1 November.

Flat Bush, 40 Baverstock Rd, 8ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, Parkview Estates Ltd (Joseph Noma), granted 5 November.

Flat Bush, 18 Baverstock Rd, 22ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, Fulton Hogan Ltd & Danne Mora Holdings Ltd, granted 23 December.

East Tamaki, Chapel Rd, 26ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, Fulton Hogan Ltd & Danne Mora Holdings Ltd, granted 5 November.

Pakuranga, 3 Pigeon Mountain Rd, 5.6ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, St Just Enterprises Ltd (Chris Mace), granted 12 December.

Mangere, George Bolt Drive & 76 Montgomerie Rd, 35ha of earthworks for industrial subdivisiom, NZ Growth Properties Ltd (Trans Tasman Properties Ltd), granted 12 November.

North Shore

Takapuna, 258-268 Hurstmere Rd, 5000m² of earthworks for residential development, O’Neill’s Properties Ltd (Chris Morton & David Winstone), granted 7 November.

Rodney

Whangaparaoa, Hawaiian Parade, 3.3ha of earthworks for Pacific Palms subdivision, stage 2, Wilbow Corp NZ Ltd (Ron Goodwin NZ general manager), granted 14 November.

Muriwai, Taiapa Rd, 5250m² of earthworks to build accessway, Taiapa Developments Ltd (Craig Nodder), granted 29 November.

Silverdale, 14 Leigh Rd, 12.9ha of earthworks for development of preschool & primary school, Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland, granted 25 November.

Silverdale, East Coast Rd, 4.9ha of earthworks for Snowdome facility, Snowstar Group Ltd (Eduard Ebbinge & Alistair Yates), granted 18 December.

Jamieson Bay, Barr Rd, 6.2ha of earthworks for accessway, Keystone Conservancy Ltd (Amanda Gibbs & Noel Lane), granted 27 November.

Waitoki, Colgan Lane, 1.2ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, Paul Boocock (Cabra Developments Ltd), granted 7 November.

Albany, 75 Masons Rd, 15.1ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, also 120m of streamworks associated with removal of farm dam, Kerekin Investments Ltd (Lau Hieng Su & Tiong Sii Tai), granted 26 November.

Wellsford district, Wayby Valley Rd, 4.9ha of earthworks for road reconstruction, Rodney District Council, granted 25 November.

Waitakere

Te Atatu Peninsula, Harbour View Rd, 8000m² of earthworks for subdivision, Waitakere Properties Ltd (Waitakere City Council), granted 31 October.

Sunnyvale, 53-55 Seymour Rd, 3.7ha of earthworks for residential subdivision, South Port Properties Ltd (Paul Gray), granted 14 November.

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Urbus listing set for 21 July

Shares climb to 7.6% discount to asset backing

Urbus Properties Ltd will list on the NZ Exchange (NZX) on Monday 21 July, the culmination of 2 years’ preparation.

“We strongly believe the company’s future lies in widening the investor base with long-term benefits such as improved liquidity and enhanced value recognition of the company’s securities,” chairman Denis Thom said.

Urbus is the creation of the Hodge family, whose Waltus Investments was 1 of New Zealand’s main property syndicators through the 90s, starting with single-property funds and turning later to multi-property funds.

Investors in 27 Waltus funds voted 2 years ago to pool their investments and form the unlisted public company, Urbus. Late last year the $157 million in assets of another 9 Waltus funds were added, taking the Urbus portfolio to $390 million.

Urbus now has 56 properties, 180 tenants, 7834 holders of shares & convertible notes, and a national spread of investors.

Mr Thom said liquidity within the portfolio would ensure Urbus could pursue & maintain a propety mix that would provide growth in net tangible assets & earnings/share.

The company increased its aftertax operating surplus 20% to $18.2 million in the March 2003 year, increased asset backing/share from 91.8c to 93.04c, saw a slight drop from 10.55c to 10.48c in earnings/share and held gross dividend at 9c/share.

The unlisted shares have climbed from 72c at balance date to 86c, from a 22.6% discount to a 7.6% discount to nta.

Company website: Urbus Properties

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