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Treasury completes review of commercial operations

Treasury completes review of commercial operations

The Treasury has completed a review of its commercial operations as the makeup of the Crown’s commercial assets changes, and the Government Share Offer programme nears completion.

The Treasury monitors 49 government-owned enterprises with full or partial commercial objectives, and assets of around $125 billion. It also advises Government on a range of commercial issues, such as major transactions and entities in distress.

The review of the commercial operations portfolio is part of a work programme focused on strengthening management of the Crown’s balance sheet.

“The commercial environment has changed a lot over the last few years. The world has been grappling with a major economic downturn, and there’s been a fresh focus on how companies are governed. Some of the companies owned by the government are also operating in very challenging industries.”

“The makeup of the government’s portfolio as a whole is also changing – for example we now have more companies operating under a Mixed Ownership Model, and Crown Financial Institutions like ACC and the NZ Superannuation Fund are becoming more prominent.”

“In that context, and with the Government Share Offer programme due to be completed in 2014, it made sense to look at how we approach our work in this area, and how our commercial operations are organised,” says Treasury Secretary and Chief Executive Gabriel Makhlouf.

The review builds on a programme initiated in 2012 to improve monitoring of commercial enterprises owned by the Crown, looking at the structure and incentives needed to support closer engagement with boards, governance processes, and potential new monitoring approaches. Key changes include:

· Board appointment and entity monitoring functions will be combined into a Governance & Performance team, more closely integrating these areas

· The establishment of new commercial policy and operational teams, supporting greater expertise in these areas

· The Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit (COMU) brand will be disestablished as the commercial operations function as a whole is more closely integrated with the wider Treasury

· Establishment of an advisory board to the commercial operations function with members from outside the Treasury.

The transition to the new structure will take place in February 2014.

“The government’s assets will keep changing over time, as will the markets and industries we operate in. The Treasury’s Investment Statement due to be published in the New Year will outline how different parts of the balance sheet are changing in value, and how they are going to continue to evolve.”

“This new structure will give us the flexibility to adapt and help make sure we’re getting the best value from the government’s commercial assets for New Zealanders.”

ENDS

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