Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Receivers' care after Hubbard's death

South Canterbury Finance staff numbers and offices are 
gradually being reduced. Photo / Sarah Ivey
South Canterbury Finance staff numbers and offices are gradually being reduced. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The death of Timaru financier Allan Hubbard makes little difference to the ongoing sale of his businesses - but compassion is being exercised.

Kerryn Downey, South Canterbury Finance receiver at McGrathNicol with William Black, said SCF staff numbers were gradually being reduced, offices in three main centres were being sold and negotiations were continuing over further asset sales.

The process is continuing according to plan despite the death, but Downey indicated he was taking an empathic approach.

"It's an absolute tragedy," he said of Friday's car accident.

"We're being low-key this week but any communications with the Hubbards has been fairly sparse now as we have most of the records and information which we required.

"There was a little information one of my staff was waiting for a response from Allan on," Downey said, adding that his offices would deal with accountants HC Partners, formerly Hubbard Churcher.

The six-monthly statutory report to August 31 is still on target to be released next month, showing a running tally of the amounts recovered so far.

SCF has about 90 staff, many in Christchurch, and some are due to leave shortly.

"We are providing re-employment counselling. It's a gradual wind-down because that helps people have what I call a soft landing. The group will be downsized from October onwards." Downey said SCF offices in Timaru, Ashburton and Hamilton were for sale but its premises were yet to be discharged from the books.

SCF had naming rights to a tower on Auckland's Fort St in the CBD and leased level 12 at 57 Fort St.

"The office is still leased but we're working with the landlord," Downey said.

Other properties which had been classified as being in the "bad bank" or toxic loans were also being prepared for sale, such as Belfast properties outside Christchurch, Downey said.

His next big deal could be the sale of SCF's 33.6 per cent stake of New Zealand's largest dairy farming group, Dairy Holdings, part of an 83 per cent stake up for sale.

"That is one of our big work streams, one of our top priorities," Downey said.

SCF bought Dairy Holdings from Hubbard for $75.7 million, a price rumoured to be almost double what it was worth.

First NZ Capital is the sale adviser on that deal.

"South Canterbury Finance is a participant in that process but we don't run the process," Downey said.

Other more minor investments were also being prepared for sale, he said.

Hubbard's South Canterbury Finance went into receivership last year, prompting a $1.7 billion call on the Government's deposit guarantee scheme.

- NZ Herald

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