Dream Team Prepares Strategy For Powerco Proceeds
13 August 2004
‘Dream Team’ Prepares Strategy For Powerco Proceeds
The New Plymouth District Council is formulating its strategy to invest the proceeds of the Powerco sale, advised by three of New Zealand’s finest financial brains.
“We are very fortunate to have our ‘dream team’ of John Armstrong, George Green and Sandy Maier to advise the council on the diversification of our investments,” says Mayor Peter Tennent.
“Their experience in the financial arena speaks for itself and I’d be surprised if there were many councils in the world able to call upon such solid financial acumen.
“As directors of New Plymouth Equity Advisers Limited (NPEAL), John, George and Sandy will advise the best possible use of the council’s Perpetual Rates Reduction Fund. And we’ll be appointing a fourth director to increase the intellectual horsepower even further.”
The stand-alone fund has a primary goal to at least maintain, or possibly improve on, the $19.3 million Powerco annual dividend most recently received by the council. The council has been advised this is an achievable objective.
Mayor Tennent adds: “We are confident that this fund, managed by John, George and Sandy, can maintain, and possibly increase, the annual returns we require to keep our rates bill among the lowest in the country.
“At present, our ratepayers are only asked to contribute $1 of every $4 the council spends. At the very least, we want to keep it this way.”
Mr Armstrong says a key factor in the years of good management of the council’s investments was the early 1990s decision to keep that management at arm’s length of the council.
“This is the key difference between the New Plymouth District Council and other councils in the country: they have kept politics and emotion out of the arena by having independent experts manage their investments.
“It is the basis of the council’s investment success, and that independent management will continue with the Perpetual Rates Reduction Fund.”
John Armstrong has extensive business interests in New Plymouth, including as a director of Links Development in Bell Block (a $30million housing development), a director of TSB Bank, and chairman of NPEAL. He was a New Plymouth City councillor from 1977-89, and chaired the council’s energy committee during most of that time; and Member of Parliament from 1990-93, during which time he chaired the caucus energy committee. John is a former director of Transpower New Zealand Ltd, former vice president of New Zealand Gas Association, former member of TSB Community Trust, and pioneer of The RadioWorks which expanded into a network of about 47 radio stations around New Zealand. He was a board member of Pukeariki Holdings, the council’s former equity advisor committee, until he became chairman of NPEAL upon its formation.
George Green is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in New Zealand and is a management consultant and company director. He is chairman of Sleepyhead Manufacturing Co, Rapaura Vintners Ltd and Morrison Low & Associates, and director of Denarau Investments Ltd, Metro Water Ltd, Whitecliffe College of Art and Design, and Taupo Airport Authority. From 1984-2000 George held various positions at Pricewaterhouse and PricewaterhouseCoopers including managing partner, management consulting services.
Sandy Maier holds a BA from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and is a member of the Institute of Directors. He is a management consultant and currently is chairman of the Caribbean Equity Fund Investment Committee and the Auckland Regional Economic Development agency, as well as director of Mighty River Power Ltd, Vertex, and a number of other companies. Sandy’s former roles include CEO of Citibank/Citicorp (New Zealand), statutory manager of DFC New Zealand, and board member of Bank of New Zealand.
For more information on NPDC’s sale of its Powerco shares, visit www.newplymouthnz.com.