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Hirequip markets Pegasus Bay

By Chris Hutching

Friday 31st October 2003

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Hirequip (formerly Southern Capital) has placed one of its most troublesome property developments on the market and is seeking tenders for its Pegasus Bay development north of Christchurch at Woodend.

The development finally obtained all approvals after years of appeals by Environment Canterbury, opposed to urban sprawl. Ecan still faces potential claims for costs of more than $1 million. The tender is expected to attract considerable interest from local developers keen to take advantage of the strong residential market in Christchurch, which is stronger than Wellington and Auckland, Real Estate Institute statistics show.

Executive chairman Graeme Wong said the company's big residential development at Omaha north of Auckland is being sold down but its Clifford Bay mussel farm proposal, which the Environment Court approved last week, now looked as though it would be appealed by the Department of Conservation.

Hirequip has 22.6% of Clifford Bay Marine Farms, 14.5% by the Kaikoura Investment Trust, a trustee for the commercial interests of Te Runanga o Kaikoura, with the balance held by other South Island investors and directors. These include Phil Burmester, Tipene O'Regan, Walter Rutherford and Wally Stone, and Michael Davison. One of the conditions imposed by the Environment Court was that before any structures could be erected, CBMF must carry out two years of research on Hectors dolphins to the satisfaction of the minister of conservation and Marlborough District Council.

Mr Wong said shareholders appeared to approve of the change from a speculative property developer to the more dependable earnings of a hire equipment operator after the reverse takeover of Hirequip.

Dunedin businessman Michael Coburn has joined the board as a non executive director. He was a colleague and fellow investor with the late Howard Paterson who founded Southern Capital/Hirequip five years ago. Mr Coburn is a non-executive director of Queenstown-based tourism operator Skyline Enterprises, Paper Plus and Arthur Barnett.

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