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Skyline buys Totally Tourism, gains former Hubbard assets

Skyline acquires Totally Tourism, gains former Hubbard assets

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 29 (BusinessDesk) – Skyline Enterprises Ltd. has agreed to buy Queenstown-based rival Totally Tourism Ltd., including the Glacier Helicopters business once co-owned by Allan Hubbard’s Helicopters (NZ) Ltd.

Totally Tourism exercised its right to buy the half stake in Glacier Helicopters it didn’t already own when Hubbard’s Helicopters (NZ) was sold to Canadian Helicopters Group as part of the South Canterbury Finance Ltd. receivership. The side sale of the Glacier stake reduced the sale price of Helicopters (NZ) by $6 million to $154 million.

Skyline’s purchase of Totally Tourism, which operates ski, rafting and cruise ventures, will settle at the end of the month. No price was disclosed.

Owning 100% of Glacier Helicopters, which runs flights around the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, has freed up Totally Tourism owners Mark and Jackie Quickfall to sell their Queenstown-based business.

Skyline chairman Ken Matthews told shareholders the acquisition gives the company a “strong presence” on the West Coast and in Milford Sound, and is “consistent with the company’s strategic goal of extending our activities in selected key locations.”

“We see this opportunity as providing some means to achieve a greater presence for existing activities in Queenstown as well as reciprocal benefits for the newly acquired business,” Matthews said.

The company will retain Totally Tourism’s joint venture arrangements and keep the existing brands.

Totally Tourism caters to as many as 150,000 visitors annually through its helicopter, plane, cruise and property investments, according to Skyline’s statement.

Skyline said it will update shareholders on the deal at its annual meeting on Sept. 17.

Earlier this month, Skyline said the downturn in the tourism sector meant it had to recast its strategy to attract Chinese travellers, who are tipped to replace Americans as New Zealand’s third-biggest market.

Skyline reported a bottom-line profit of $12.1 million, or 49 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31, compared to a $13.9 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier.

Shares of Skyline, which trade on the Unlisted platform were last at $6.10, valuing the company at $203.6 million.

Last year, Skyline turned down an undisclosed cash offer for its 50% share in Christchurch casino from partner SkyCity Entertainment Group.


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