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Public concern about port ownership considered

Public concern about Lyttelton port ownership
will be considered in any future arrangement -- CCHL

11 April 2006

Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL) says that the present proposal in relation to Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) is unlikely to be implemented in the future.

However, other proposals that still address the issues raised during the course of the last few weeks will be considered because steps still need to be taken to protect the long-term value of CCHL’s investment in the port, says CCHL chief executive Bob Lineham.

His comments follow a statement issued yesterday by five Christchurch Government MPs saying they had “serious concerns” about the “potential outcome of the proposed sale into the private sector of the operation arm of the Lyttelton Port Company”.

“The original agreement was for Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) to take a 50.1% holding in the new port operation company, while the Christchurch City Council and CCHL retained control of LPC with a 50.1% majority holding over HPH’s 49.9%,” Mr Lineham says.

“We recognise the concerns that people have raised about HPH’s majority ownership in the port operation company.

“While no actual loss of control of the Port was involved, it became a point of principle for many people - now including the five MPs - not to have majority overseas ownership involving any aspect of the Port.

“While there’s currently no legal arrangement in place with HPH, CCHL is hopeful that it will be able to reactivate discussions with them and if we can do so then we will obviously be taking this sentiment on board.

"We note that the five MPs appear to have no issue with the City Council and CCHL retaining majority control of LPC with the proposed 50.1% holding,” says Mr Lineham.

ENDS

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