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SCF receivers sell major asset

South Canterbury Finance's (SCF) receivers have sold Helicopters New Zealand for about $160 million to Canadian Helicopters.

Wednesday, April 13th 2011, 11:30AM

by Jenny Ruth

The sale, the first major assets sale since SCF went into receivership in August last year, is subject to a number of conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed "in the coming months."

Goldman Sachs & Partners, who were appointed in October last year, advised the receivers, Kerryn Downey and William Black of McGrathNicol, on the sale.

SCF's owner, Allan Hubbard, whose affairs have been in statutory management since the middle of last year, sold Helicopters New Zealand and a majority stake in Scales Corp. to SCF in March last year for a nominal $162.5 million (all but $10 million was paid with new shares in SCF) as part of a rescue attempt.

The helicopter company, which has a fleet of 37 helicopters operating in New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and Antarctica, earned $28 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in calendar 2010.

"This announcement is the culmination of a significant amount of work by the company and our advisors. This has been a very robust process and we are pleased to have identified such a credible purchaser and achieved what we believe is a good price for the business," said Downey in a statement.

The Toronto Exchange-listed Canadian Helicopters is the largest of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in the world with more than 35 base locations across Canada.

The government, which has already paid out $1.7 billion to SCF investors, now expects its retail deposit scheme will cost it about $1.2 billion, largely because of lower than expected related party loan recoveries from the receivership of South Canterbury Finance.


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