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Changes on the farm

On the first anniversary of lifting a freeze on unit redemptions the New Zealand Rural Property Trust is outline proposed changes to the trust deed.

Sunday, November 8th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

The New Zealand Rural Property Trust (NZRPT) is about to send a letter to unitholders outlining significant changes its trust deed.
The proposed changes are likely to have two main impacts: one is that the threshold for a unitholder-requested general meeting will be raised, and the second will be to help improve the trust's cashflow.
Selwyn Cushing, who is chairman of both the listed parent company New Zealand Rural Properties (NZRP), and the trust's management company, told the NZRP annual meeting changes to the trust deed would be made to prevent a rebellion similar to the one in March when a group of unitholders tried, unsuccessfully, to wind up the trust.

Currently a petition signed by 50 unitholders is sufficient to requisition a special meeting.
NZRPT chief executive Tim Ryan downplayed Cushing's comments last week and said the thrust of the proposals were to increase the trust's cashflow.
The trust has an "unsustainable structure" which needs fixing, he says.
While listing is an option, it's not one that the manager is going to pursue.
The letter is due to go out early next week which closely coincides with the first anniversary of the manager lifting a freeze on unit redemptions.
On the anniversary, November 19, the manager will have to start redeeming about 6.6 million units. (Currently unitholders have a 12-month wait from when they make their redemption request, to when they get their money).
These redemptions are being funded by property sales. The exact number of property sales and their level of realisation are not known at this stage. However, Ryan earlier said that the Ngarua diary unit had been sold for about $1.6 million and a number of the 12 blocks of the recently subdivided Tarlair property near Hamilton had been sold.
Also outstanding in the trust's books is payment of the manager's fee. The annual report shows that at balance date (June 30) the trust had not paid the $1.54 million management fee for the financial year.
Ryan says the proposed trust deed changes will have to be ratified by a meeting of unitholders. A series of nationwide briefings will be held to discuss the changes and the unitholder meeting will be held after Christmas.
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