Sale of Star Media to Allied Press

ChCh Star.jpg

Ocean Partners was lead advisor on the successful divestment of Star Media, publisher of The Star and its stable of community newspapers, magazines, digital platforms and events to Allied Press. 

Allied Press is publisher of the Otago Daily Times, New Zealand's first daily paper published in 1861, and a host of other daily and community newspapers in Otago, Southland, South Canterbury, Mid Canterbury and the West Coast.

Allied Press is owned by Sir Julian Smith and his brother Nick Smith.  The family involvement in newspapers date back to the 1860's in Dunedin.

Nick Smith has strong connections to The Star.  After leaving school he joined The Star as an advertising cadet in 1965.  He has also been chairman of the Star Media board since his daughter Charlotte Smulders and son-in-law Pier Smulders purchased the company from APN in 2013.

The move to Allied ownership will strengthen Star Media platforms, allowing Star Media to offer package buys combining Canterbury with other key South Island markets.  

The story of Star Media's magazines department is one of constant evolution and in the last five years we have expanded from publishing two regular magazine titles, to six.  Under Allied ownership, Charlotte Smulders remains at the helm of the magazines division as Magazines Publisher and we expect our growth trend to continue.  

Christchurch Yarns NZ Limited sold to NZ Yarn Limited

NZ Yarn

Ocean Partners was lead advisor on the successful divestment of Christchurch Yarns NZ Limited to NZ Yarns Limited and the subsequent capital raising by NZ Yarn Limited to raise capitral from wool growers and industry players to fund the acquisition.

Christchurch Yarns NZ Limited was the last remaining independently owned wool spinning business in the southern hemisphere and it was considered 'imperative' that these assets remained in local ownership and operational.    

NZ Yarn Limited was established by the Primary Wool Co-Operative, with the driver then being taken over by Elders Primary Wool, a joint venture between Primary Wool Co-Operative and the Carr Group from Ashburton.


Palmer Group acquires Transform Minerals

Victory Lime

Ocean Partners advised the Receivers of Transform Minerals on the sucessful divestment of the business to Victory Lime 2000 Limited, a subsidiary of Dunedin based resource company Palmer MR Limited. 

Ocean Partners was lead advisor to the Receiver of Transform Minerals Limited on the sale of the business and mineral rights to Victory Lime 2000 Limited, a subsidiary company within the Dunedin based resource owning and mining group, Palmer MR Limitred.

Transform Minerals Limited was placed in Receivership in 2014.

The Transform Minerals business was started by Canterbury Bentonite Limited who commenced mining and processing bentonite from the Harper Hills region, near Coalgate in 1967. The operation was later owned and operated by Omya New Zealand Limited (“Omya”) before being acquired by Transform Minerals in May 2006.

Transform Minerals had been granted resource consents which enabled it to mine and process 40,800 dry tonnes of bentonite per annum.

The Palmer Resource Group is a family owned business, which incorporates a number of other south island mining and quarrying operations.

The value of this transaction was undisclosed. 


Oceania Dairy Factory Opens

Ocean Partners

The Oceania plant at Glenavy, south of Waimate, is owned by Chinese dairy giant Yili, which bought the business from its New Zealand developers two years ago.

Oceania Dairy was an initiative that was initially promoted by Christchurch based investment bank, Ocean Partners in an attempt to create further milk processing options for South Island farmers.

Oceania Dairy started processing milk from its 48 local farmer supplies in August this year and has produced about 13,000 tonnes of whole milk powder and infant formula powder for export to Yili in China.

Oceania chief executive Aidan Johnstone said it would undergo a multimillion-dollar expansion programme in the next five years.

"Yili have announced an expansion plan from early next year through to 2020. They'll be spending approximately $400 million increasing our capacity across a range of products, including whole milk powder, an infant formula packing line, a lactoferin plant and a UHT plant. It's about a five-year programme, with UHT and lactoferin starting next year," he said.

"This year we expect to be processing about 220 million litres (of milk). Capacity after this expansion will be 630 million litres - so effectively tripling of our current plan. We will certainly need some increase in supply from the local region, which we will expect through both (dairy farm) conversions and from existing farms.

"We've had a very good relationship with the farmers. A number of our farmers were instrumental in Oceania being set up, prior to its sale to Yili in the first place, so they are very, very committed to ensuring that Oceania is a success."

Mr Johnstone said Yili had spent more than $200 million developing the Oceania plant. It employed 75 people and that would triple to about 225 jobs with the planned expansion.

Ideas Pitched for Lichfield Street Car Park

Artists impression of Ocean Partners proposal to redevelop Lichfield Street car park. Supplied

Artists impression of Ocean Partners proposal to redevelop Lichfield Street car park. Supplied


Two property developers planning precincts around Christchurch's City Mall have proposed rebuilding council car parking buildings.

Philip Carter and Tim Howe have pitched their separate joint- venture car park schemes to city councillors, unveiling designs including grass walls and street- front shops.

The developers and other landowners in the mall have said council inaction over the damaged car park buildings is delaying their plans, and they need parking issues sorted before they can sign tenants.

Carter, who has teamed up with store owners Ballantynes for his development of office buildings and shops, wishes to rebuild The Crossing car parking building next to his land between Colombo and High streets.

The Ballantynes Carter alliance say the footprint and capacity of the rebuilt car park could change. The alliance would manage the development on behalf of the council, with the council retaining ownership and running the facility. It would be open every day and offer one hour of free parking.

However, the council has been reluctant to commit to the proposal because it is still haggling with its insurer over the fate of The Crossing carpark. According to council staff, it could take at least another six months to get a settlement.

Howe's company, Ocean Partners, wants to develop and rebuild the Lichfield St car park adjacent to its properties near the Bridge of Remembrance. Their new building would have 750 car parks, 30 apartments to be sold, and shops at ground level.

The scheme would see the council contribute the land, Ocean Partners construct the building with private sector funding, and the facility run as a joint venture. The council would have the option of buying back the building after 25 years.

Ocean Partners wants to move quickly on the proposal, signing an agreement with the council next month.

The company has been trying to join other landowners and develop the western end of the block between the bridge and Plymouth Lane.

Its $200 million One Cashel Square plan would include several office and retail buildings, plus the car park.

Howe told councillors they were in discussions with the Bank of New Zealand about leasing space in the complex and parking would be critical.

He said a private/public partnership would bring numerous benefits as costings suggested the council had insufficient funds on its own to replace parking buildings.

"An offer to work with the private sector . . . should be given significant consideration," Howe said.

Councillors reaffirmed their commitment to providing at least pre-earthquake levels of car parking in the Lichfield St and The Crossing areas. They also agreed to get staff working with the Ballantynes Carter Alliance on a draft agreement.

The council has already committed, through its cost-share agreement with the Crown, to spend up to $70m on central city parking.

Rivals Compete for Central Christchurch Site

Ocean Partners

Westpac and Goodman Property Trust are locked in a David and Goliath battle for an anchor retail project in central Christchurch.

LIZ MCDONALD     The Press

The Cashel St site is wanted by the stock-exchange listed property trust and its project partner Westpac, and is rivalling Ocean Partners – representing some of the seven owners of the site, for the project.

And the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is in the middle, integrated plans for large blocks to be developed.

Both developer groups have lodge resource consent applications with Christchurch City Council this week.

In today’s print edition of the National Business Review, property editor Chris Hutching explains how Cera and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee may soon need to make a tough call.

Meanwhile, active Christchurch developer Richard Peebles has plans to build up to 12 buildings in Christchurch’s city centre.

But like other central city developers he feels he is being frozen out as Cera seeks major corporate players for its rebuild plan.


Ocean Partners Battles to Underwrite Central City Redevelopment

Ocean Partners

Ocean Partners battles to progress plans to underwrite investment in the City Mall.


Two contenders battling to develop a prime City Mall block now stand in each other's way after buying up land.

The standoff has arisen as a fifth plan emerges for the riverside site, and as the Government confirms its reluctance to intervene in the battle.

The tussle is for the prized land between Cashel and Lichfield streets and Oxford Tce.

Leighs Construction and Ocean Partners, both with consented plans but not enough land to carry them out, have both just made purchases.

Ocean Partners have bought the vacant DTZ site on the corner of Cashel St and Oxford Tce from investor Miles Middleton, after their purchase of the nearby Canterbury Lodge site in Lichfield St.

Yesterday Leighs Construction finalised deals to buy two properties - developer Richard Diver's former Bog and Mad Cow pub sites in Cashel St and Oxford Tce, and an Oxford Tce apartment building next door.

The sales mean both contenders are now preventing each other's projects from going ahead unless one buys the other out.

The Leighs' plan, approved a fortnight ago, is for five buildings up to seven storeys with two laneways. Leighs also has a contract to buy the property on the Lichfield St-Oxford Tce corner, and are negotiating with other owners on the block.

"We are quite confident - we control a large amount of land, far more than anybody else does," said project head Anthony Leighs.

"We believe we have the ability to have this fantastic development kick off in the very, very near future."

He was not ready to release pictures of his development, and declined to pinpoint his source of money except to say that he was confident of funding.

Ocean Partners' head Tim Howe was also confident of completing his One Conference Square project, calling the DTZ site "the jewel in the crown" of the mall block.

However, he conceded his full plan may not be possible.

"You can't rule out some sort of hybrid plan. We obviously need willing landowners to sell . . . it's more difficult than we thought."

Meanwhile, leasing agent Brendan Chase is finalising his master plan for the same land before it goes for approval.

Chase does not own land on the block nor intend to buy any, but said he would co-ordinate individual owners building to a master plan from architects Warren and Mahoney.

Another contender is Goodman Property Group, which has gone quiet since receiving resource consent late last year, and did not respond to a Press request for an update.

It is believed Goodman's anchor tenant, Westpac, has switched its interest to the Leighs project.

Anthony Leighs said he had a deal with a tenant he would describe only as a "major corporate".

The fourth plan may come from Peter Guthrey, who owns the Guthrey Centre land next to Ballantynes and is understood to be drawing up plans for the rest of the block.

Earlier this year landowners on the block called for government action, saying the development impasse was delaying a key recovery project.

The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) wrote to all the owners last week, stressing that it would only step in as a last resort.

"We consider competition in the market to be a good thing and the CCDU will watch with interest to see which [plan] prevails," CCDU head Warwick Isaacs said. 

China’s largest dairy player Yili scoops up Oceania

China’s biggest dairy company is set to invest $214 million in a new infant milk powder plant in New Zealand driving more competition into Fonterra’s back yard.

Yili said it was attracted by NZ’s “relatively cheap” raw milk prices, as well as, the free trade agreement between China and New Zealand, under which dairy import tariffs reduce to zero by 2020.

The Inner Mongolian firm’s agreement to buy NZ Oceania Dairy – whose prime remaining asset is land resource consents for a dairy processing facility in South Canterbury – has to be approved by the Overseas Investment Office ((OIO) and Chinese regulatory authorities.

This will be the third major Chinese investment in the NZ dairy industry following Bright Dairy’s investment in Synlait, and, Shanghai Pengxin’s acquisition of the Crafar farms. It is understood that the Cabinet Ministers were well aware of? Yili’s intentions with Trade Minister Tim Groser having previously met the company. The investment in processing capacity – rather than farms – will be seen as a plus by the Government which has spent considerable political capital dealing with the Crafar farm furore this year.

Oceania has been in relative hibernation since it failed to get a $74.5 million capital raising away in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. Synlait subsequently bought Oceania’s supply contracts. Oceania’s two directors are former National Party leader and Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash and CEO Paul Park, who are? also among the eight shareholders (see below).

The Inner Mongolia Yili? Industrial Group (known simply as ‘Yili’) is headquartered in Hothot alongside major rival Mengniu and is listed on the Shanghai stock exchange. It was an official sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This is its first major offshore acquisition.

In a stock exchange notice last night, the company said it would? invest 1.1 billion yuan ($214 million) in a milk powder plant in New Zealand to enhance its competitiveness. The new plant will take 19 months to build; go into production by June 2014 and reach full production in the 2016-17 milking seasons with an annual output of 47,000 tonnes of infant formula.

The acquistion vehicle is Yili’s overseas wholly-owned subsidiary Yili International Development and Hong Kong Jingang Trade Holding which will purchase 100 per cent of Oceania Dairy. The target firm has land use consent for the construction of a whole milk processing plant, environmental consents and purchasing rights on a 38 hectares site.

Yili said the investment will boost its profitability and raise its brand influence – it will not affect its other businesses.

Chinese reports added the group’s milk powder division forecasts an increase of between 10-15 per cent in annual production and sales of Yili’s infant formula products. Yili expects China’s domestic supply of raw will be tight over the next five years while NZ’s ram milk volume has certain advantages. “In order to meet the needs of the rapidly growing market and to ease the tight supply situation in China, the New Zealand project is a necessity.”

The company expects the project’s internal rate of return will be 9.77 per cent and annual sales revenue will be RMB 1307 billion ($248.73 million) giving an average annual profit of of RMB 113 million ($21.59 million).

China’s imports of milk powder have been growing steadily in recent years after numerous food quality scandals made the headlines.

Plans Released for Cashel Street Development

One Commerce Corner - Ocean Partners

One Cashel Square, a proposed 28,000m2 premium office, retail and hospitality precinct on the South West end of Cashel Square, adjacent to the Bridge of Remembrance and the proposed Justice Precinct has been released to the market.


Christchurch – A $200-million proposed development for the south-west end of Cashel Mall is an early collaborative landowner project under the new central city plan format.

One Cashel Square is a collaboration led by Christchurch-based construction management firm Apollo Projects and local investment bank Ocean Partners and includes existing landowners such as Miles Middleton, who owned the former DTZ Building.

One Cashel Square is a 28,000 m2 development incorporating retail, hospitality and premium office accommodation with a strong emphasis on interconnectivity and car parking.

As it is situated adjacent to the proposed justice precinct, One Cashel Square will be marketed as a logical location for legal, financial and banking companies and the complex could house up to 1,500 employees.

The Outline Development Plan for this location and other adjoining blocks of land in the commercial retail precinct was submitted to the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) on Tuesday in an effort to ensure that the objectives of the landowners are sympathetic to neighbouring areas.

Apollo Projects has managed the Outline Development Plan process for One Cashel Square. Apollo Projects Director Paul Lloyd welcomes the new framework where proposed developments will be across larger land areas.

“A development of this scale makes it possible to offer interconnected buildings providing efficient floor layouts, economies in the build process, car parking at the door, and common café courtyards to increase the quality of employees’ experience,” Lloyd says.

The CCDU and the Christchurch City Council chartered new territory when they called for developments in the commercial retail precinct to be part of a wider 7,500m2 Outline Development Plan.

“Our experience has been very positive when dealing with CCDU and the council, who have provided significant assistance and guidance in the development of our plan,” says Lloyd.

Middleton, who lost four CBD properties in the earthquakes, including the DTZ building on the One Cashel Square site, is delighted to have the opportunity to own a new building in the proposed development.

“One Cashel Square will enable our company to rebuild in the CBD where we have been long-term landowners and to be part of a world-class development which we believe will rapidly become the heart of the commercial district,” Middleton says.

The area of land proposed for One Cashel Square incorporates 13 existing owners and will require a radical change to land title boundaries, a move that is seen as essential to making progress with the rebuild.

Ocean Partners has been leading the land acquisition process and will manage the capital raising for the development.

One Cashel Square will provide an option for those landowners wishing to sell land, those wishing to remain involved in a passive investment capacity and those wishing to own buildings in their own right.

“There are a number of local and international investors interested in supporting opportunities like this. Having existing landowners committed to the project with their own capital has been an extra big tick,” says Tim Howe, a Partner with Ocean Partners.

“The Government commitment for 2,500 civil servants to return to the central city is further good news and will help to increase confidence within the investment community,” he says.

Experienced commercial property broker Merv Davies, of McIntosh Realty, is confident that the professional community will embrace One Cashel Square due to the high standard of accommodation on offer and the associated efficiencies of this integrated development.

“While many legal, banking and finance firms are enjoying below market rents in the suburbs, they are the first to acknowledge the benefits of being in an area adjacent to the people they do business with on a daily basis,” says Davies.


One Cashel Square

One Cashel Square is a collaboration between property owners including Miles Middleton, Christchurch-based construction management firm Apollo Projects and boutique investment bank Ocean Partners.

Ocean Partners

Ocean Partners is a boutique investment bank providing corporate finance advisory services to a range of local and international companies seeking to complete mergers, acquisitions, divestments and capital raisings in the New Zealand marketplace. In addition, the company operates a private family investment office which originates and manages investments on behalf of a small number of local and international private office clients.

Ocean Partners is investment manager for Moorhouse Central, a $21.5-million property on Moorhouse Avenue incorporating Countdown, Burger King, a pharmacy and a series of food outlets which is owned by 44 investors.

The directors of Ocean Partners include Tim Howe and Sarah Ott. Tim Howe is a former Corporate Finance Partner of the Ernst & Young New Zealand practice with a depth of experience in the local and international investment banking markets. Sarah Ott was formally an Executive Director with Ernst & Young Corporate Finance group and has extensive transaction origination and execution experience.

Further information about Ocean Partners and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at