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Maier sees 12 months of change in Hubbard empire

Sandy Maier, tapped for key role in Hubbard empire, sees 12 months of change

Dec. 29 (BusinessWire) – Sandy Maier, who has been tapped for the role of chief executive in businessman Allan Hubbard’s investment group, says he is being brought in as a change manager with a set of tasks to be achieved over the next 12 months.

Maier has been appointed CEO of Hubbard’s Southbury Group and will also become chief of South Canterbury Finance under a consultancy agreement with the parent. The job will include overseeing the group’s loan portfolio and advising the board on South Canterbury’s recapitalisation, the firm said in a statement today.

“The assignment is really focused in this coming year,” Maier told BusinessWire. “This year it has been difficult for all finance companies” and for South Canterbury and Southbury “there are a number of short-term financial tasks to do.”

Maier’s experience includes being a statutory manager of Development Finance Corp. in 1990-1992, assuming responsibility for the financing body that failed in 1989 amid loan loss provisions, having pursued an aggressive approach to lending. He wouldn’t speculate on how long the role would extend beyond 2010.

Hubbard was forced to inject funds into South Canterbury and underwrite bad loans in 2009. The finance company posted a net loss of $69 million in the year ended June 30 after taking provisions against non-performing assets such as property loans. It was forced to negotiate repayment terms with a group of U.S. investors after losing its investment grade credit rating.

Maier replaces Nigel Gormack, who became acting CEO when former chief Lachie McLeod left at the end of November. He is chairman of state-owned Learning Media, Radius Property, Pathfinder Asset Management and Oyster Bay Marlborough Vineyards.

He says his role as chairman of GEON, the Australasian printing group, keeps him most busy currently and he will have to review his other commitments having taken on the Southbury Group role.

Last week, S&P affirmed South Canterbury’s BB+ rating, saying the outlook was ‘negative.’ S&P cited the company’s access to debenture funding, new independent directors and clean financial statements.

South Canterbury’s liquidity and asset quality remained weak for the current rating and the firm is only in the early stages of addressing concerns about related-party investments, S&P said.


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