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Cushing family well placed as rural property value surges

Tuesday 22nd July 2008

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Investments associated with the family of corporate highflier Selwyn Cushing stand to benefit from a surge in the value of New Zealand Rural Property Trust assets.

The trust, whose units trade on the Unlisted market, today said soaring prices for its dairy, livestock and arable farms has resulted in a 30% gain in the value of net assets.

"Values went up substantially," Cushing, the trust's chairman, said in a BusinessWire interview. "The revaluation was such as huge part of the P and L that we felt we should tell investors immediately."

The Cushing family's investment arm, H&G, owns about 9.3% of Rural Property Trust and also holds 50.8% of Rural Equities, which last year paid NZ$2.80 per unit to increase its stake in the trust to 62%.

"Lots of people were prepared to sell out at generous prices," Cushing said.

The units were last quoted at NZ$3.10 on Unlisted.

The trust's properties increased in value by NZ$48 million as at June 30, from a year earlier, it said in a statement today. Net assets rose to about NZ$210 million from NZ$162 million.

The net asset value per unit is expected to rise to about NZ$4.50 from NZ$3.46 in June 2007. The bulk of the trust's properties are in dairy, sheep and beef farms, mainly in Canterbury and the Waikato.

By Jonathan Underhill

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