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NZ Super Fund to invest in $300M local hotel venture

By Victoria Young

July 15 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand’s $42 billion Superannuation Fund will invest into a $300 million portfolio of hotels owned by local firms, as it eyes further exposure to tourism. The investment into the portfolio is phased and the fund won't say how much has been put in so far.

The deal for a hotel portfolio with Russell Group and Lockwood Property Group includes two Auckland hotels, one in Christchurch and agreement to acquire and develop more properties.

Russell Group is headed by NBR Rich Lister Brett Russell, better known for his construction firm Dominion Constructors. Dominion had worked on conversion and construction of the three hotels. Lockwood Property Group by is led by Crombie Lockwood co-founder Steve Lockwood.

“This partnership will give the NZ Super Fund exposure to New Zealand’s fast-growing tourism sector, diversify our investment portfolio and help support the industry’s strategic objectives," NZ Super Fund head of direct investments Will Goodwin said.

He noted capacity constraints in the hotel sector and the need for growth to support both domestic tourism and international arrivals.

Russell said in a statement he is happy that the assets remain locally owned.

While tourism spending increased by 7.7 percent in the past year to $39.1 billion, New Zealand is projected to have a significant shortfall in hotel rooms, with more than 4,500 extra beds needed by 2025. Auckland faces the biggest constraint with a requirement of up to 4,300 new hotel rooms, but only 2,500 are planned.

In April, NZ Super Fund said it would invest US$115 million in US data centres in order to capitalise on demand for digital infrastructure. It already had a 39% stake in local IT company Datacom.

The sovereign wealth fund is owned by the government to partially pre-fund the cost of national superannuation. It has returned 10.1 percent per annum since it began in 2003.


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