Maori organisations to get chance to invest in 2degrees

By Yvonne Tahana

2Degrees has made good progress establishing itself as the number three mobile telco in the New Zealand market. Photo / Supplied
2Degrees has made good progress establishing itself as the number three mobile telco in the New Zealand market. Photo / Supplied

Maori organisations will be offered shares in 2degrees this year through the company's original Maori shareholder - a selldown which was always going to happen, a spokesman says.

Antony Royal sits on the boards of the telco Hautaki, the body which holds 5 per cent of shares on behalf of all Maori and its parent body the charitable trust Te Huarahi Tika. Tuaropaki, a central North Island hapu business, also independently holds 5 per cent.

A special commercial arrangement means that Hautaki can sell to approved Maori investors.

Royal said only very informal discussions had taken place with potential buyers but in the next couple of months Hautaki would ramp up its sales pitch. Hautaki wouldn't be shedding its holding completely.

"The intention at this stage is to sell them in parcels so we have the opportunity to spread them around.

"Hautaki is holding these shares in trust at the moment for iwi and for other organisations who wanted to participate. If you went four or five years ago trying to get Maori organisations interested in setting up a third mobile network it was hard to imagine what 2degrees would look like.

"The intention all along was for Hautaki to hold on to them until such time as the business is doing well. It's got a brand, it's growing and it's made a significant contribution to the telecommunications industry so it's easier for organisations to grasp what the opportunities are."

Proceeds will be used to pay down debt incurred when Hautaki had to borrow to keep its stake in 2degrees.

- NZ Herald

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