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$3 million gift announced for business educators

$3 million gift announced for business educators

Auckland businessman Tony Falkenstein will gift shares with a par value of $3 million to three business education providers in Auckland.

The gifting of Just Water International Ltd shares was announced today by Dr John Hood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, on behalf of the three r
ecipients: The University of Auckland Business School, the Unitec School of Management and Entrepreneurship, and Onehunga High Business School.

Each organisation will receive 2 million Just Water shares which have a par value of $1 million. These will be held in trust on behalf of each organisation.

Just Water International Ltd is the leading provider of drinking water to organisations in New Zealand. An initial public offer of 16.5 million $0.50 shares has closed fully subscribed and the company will list on the NZAX exchange in mid June. Mr Falkenstein’s family interests hold a majority shareholding in Just Water.

The gifts will provide each organisation with an asset with growth potential, plus annual income from dividends.

Dr Hood welcomed Mr Falkenstein’s gift.

“The University of Auckland, and in particular The University of Auckland Business School, is grateful for the most generous support of Mr Falkenstein and Just Water. This is a long-term relationship that will benefit all parties and, ultimately, the wider community.

“Mr Falkenstein shares our belief that business education is one of the keys to New Zealand’s economic prosperity, and we welcome his recognition of the world-class Business School project.”

The Dean of The University of Auckland Business School, Professor Barry Spicer, said that this generous donation from Mr Falkenstein will take the Business School close to its first stage fundraising target of $25 million and able to complete the University’s claim of Government matching.

“It is particularly gratifying to have an alumnus of our Business School giving back to students who follow him in this way. We share Mr Falkenstein’s vision for the development of business education in New Zealand and we look forward to continuing to support Onehunga High Business School’s aim to build a strong culture of entrepreneurship amongst students and staff.”

Dr John Webster, Unitec CEO and President, said the gift was a generous one and greatly appreciated.

"At this stage, we plan to use some of the funds to take a leading role in equipping teachers to develop and implement an enterprise curriculum similar to that pioneered at the Onehunga High School, and to undertake related research.

“We may well be able to put some of our ideas into practice within the framework of the planned new senior college in Waitakere City. Finally, depending on the actual income levels flowing from the shares, we may be able to fund some scholarships for teachers enrolling in postgraduate studies at Unitec to equip themselves to meet the challenges of the new curriculum."

Chris Saunders, Principal of Onehunga High Business School, said Mr Falkenstein, combined with funding from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, had been the driving force in establishing the Business School, and his on-going support was greatly appreciated.

“Tony Falkenstein is without peer in his support for business education in New Zealand,” Mr Saunders said.

The school is looking at a number of areas where it could make best use of future income from share dividends, including software purchases and upgrades that will make the world’s best business software available to students each year.

Background

Tony Falkenstein is a former student of Onehunga High School and The University of Auckland and has had a long relationship with Unitec. He believes that business education is the key to economic prosperity in New Zealand. Mr Falkenstein was instrumental in establishing New Zealand’s first business high school at Onehunga High School, and chairs the Business School Board. He is a former CEO of a number of listed companies in New Zealand, and now operates a number of large companies through holding company Red Eagle Corporation, which turns over $150 million each year.

Just Water International Ltd comprises Just Water New Zealand, Cool Water, Corporate Water Brands and Aqua-Cool. It has more than 35,000 water coolers placed in organisations around the country, and is the largest player in this niche of the beverage industry. Just Water International Ltd employs 179 staff throughout New Zealand. The board of directors is chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Jim McLay.

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