Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Ngāi Tahu backs out of Agria deal, takes stake in Wrightson

Ngāi Tahu Capital has taken a direct stake in PGG Wrightson, ending a seven-year relationship with Singapore-domiciled Agria as the foreign investor's grip on the rural services firm remains uncertain.

Last Friday, the investment arm of the South Island iwi ended an agreement that pooled its investment in Wrightson with Agria and Chinese agribusiness New Hope International. Ngāi Tahu Capital was a junior partner in the joint venture with a 7.24 percent stake. At the time, it touted the $15 million investment as diversifying its portfolio and building international relationships.

Ngāi Tahu has taken direct ownership of 27.4 million Wrightson shares, or 3.6 percent of the company, worth about $14 million at the current 51 cents share price. No consideration was paid, documents lodged with the stock exchange show.

The dilution of the joint venture means Agria and minor partner New Hope own 46.6 percent of Wrightson.

The future of Agria's Wrightson stake is up in the air, with the Overseas Investment Office reconsidering whether it meets the 'good character' requirement. The OIO started investigating the stake after the US Securities and Exchange Commission launched a probe into Agria.

Last week, Agria and its executive chair Alan Lai settled fraudulent accounting and market manipulation claims brought by the SEC, without admitting or denying the charges. Both have been cooperating with the OIO's probe and Wrightson has a committee of independent directors set up to assess whether there will be any fall-out for the company.

Agria first bought into Wrightson in 2009, helping bail it out from taking on too much debt in the failed merger with Silver Fern Farms. At the time, the OIO cleared the investment on the grounds that it would create or protect local jobs, boost export receipts, and also included an offer to sell riverbed and foreshore to the Crown.

It also included a research and development cooperation agreement to invest in and establish international joint ventures.

When Agria set up the joint venture with Ngāi Tahu and New Hope to take control in 2011, the OIO approved it on the grounds that it would boost exports, introduce new technology or business skills to New Zealand, and that the involvement of a key person in an industry of another nation would benefit New Zealand. The earlier investment was also a factor.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Stats NZ: Consents For New Homes At All-Time High

A record 41,028 new homes have been consented in the year ended March 2021, Stats NZ said today. The previous record for the annual number of new homes consented was 40,025 in the year ended February 1974. “Within 10 years the number of new homes ... More>>

Stats NZ: Unemployment Declines As Underutilisation Rises

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 4.7 percent in the March 2021 quarter, continuing to fall from its recent peak of 5.2 percent in the September 2020 quarter but remaining high compared with recent years, Stats NZ said today. ... More>>

ALSO:

Digitl: The Story Behind Vodafone’s FibreX Court Ruling

Vodafone’s FibreX service was in the news this week. What is the story behind the Fair Trading Act court case? More>>

Reserve Bank: Concerned About New Zealand's Rising House Prices

New Zealand house prices have risen significantly in the past 12 months. This has raised concerns at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Putea Matua about the risk this poses to financial stability. Central banks responded swiftly to the global ... More>>

Westpac: Announces Strong Financial Result

Westpac New Zealand (Westpac NZ) [i] says a strong half-year financial result has been driven by better than expected economic conditions. Chief Executive David McLean said while the global COVID-19 pandemic was far from over, the financial effect on ... More>>

MYOB: SME Confidence In Economic Performance Still Cautious

New insights from the annual MYOB Business Monitor have shown the SME sector is still cautious about the potential for further economic recovery, with two-in-five (41%) expecting the New Zealand economy to decline this year. The latest research ... More>>