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Hubbard writes big cheque to Rolleston

By Chris Hutching

Friday 3rd September 2004

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A 22-year long partnership between millionaire Cantabrian businessmen Humphry Rolleston, 53, and Alan Hubbard, 73, ended this week when Rolleston sold his 23% stake in their holding company Southbury Group for what is understood to be a little over $40 million.

Southbury Group owns South Canterbury Finance (with asset of $735 million and equity of $62 million) and the two men had shared interests in Helicopters New Zealand, Broadway Industries and Scales Corporation.

Rumours about the separation of their interests have been rife in the Christchurch business community recently and when NBR asked about the rumours last week, Rolleston denied any personal falling out.

People close to the action suggest he may be focusing more on his relationship with one of Canterbury's younger businessman, George Gould, who has been involved in several market plays recently, including Vertex and Mike Pero Mortgages.

This week Rolleston prepared a brief statement, handed it to his secretary for distribution and left with his wife for a two-month break in southern Europe.

Timaru-based Hubbard declined to say exactly how large a cheque he wrote for Rolleston but said it was a big one.

"He won't be short of income for a while."

Hubbard said the two men first met in the 1970s when he funded a property venture that Rolleston and his then business partner Tom Kain were involved in.

"After it was over, Humphry decided he was going to go to Queensland but I suggested he stick around and we could do some things together. Over the years the growth of the business was a mutual thing.

"Recently he approached me and said he wanted to travel more and spend a bit more time with the family.

"It would have been difficult to find an outside buyer and I'm a kind of benevolent person so we just sat down and worked it out."

Hubbard said as well as a cash consideration there were a couple of "contras" where they divvied up some assets.

In their joint statement this week the pair said the transaction would allow Hubbard to expand his charitable planning programme.

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