New Zealand Post, the state-owned postal service, agreed to sell its 35 per cent stake in Datacom Group to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund for $142 million to repay debt and bolster its capital.

NZ Post's credit rating was cut to A+ from AA- in October as the state-owned enterprise searches for new revenue streams in the face of dwindling demand for traditional postal services. It will get a net gain of $76.4 million from the sale of Datacom.

"Having a significant amount of capital locked up in a minority shareholding does not meet the currency strategic needs of the New Zealand Post Group," said chief executive Brian Roche. The sale of shares in Datacom "is a move out of necessity given other capital priorities" within the group.

The funds will be used to restructure the group's debt position and fund strategic investments, he said.


NZ Post's profit rose 38 per cent last year, mainly driven by record returns from its Kiwibank subsidiary. Postal revenue fell by $17 million as kiwis posted 54 million fewer letters.

Datacom is an IT services provider with more than 3,300 staff across 13 sites in the Asia Pacific region.

NZ Post will remain a significant customer of Datacom, it said. The deal requires approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board.