Sharechat Logo

Not for sale

By Chris Hutching

Friday 14th March 2003

Text too small?
Pacifica Transport Group executive director Rod Grout said yesterday there was no substance to a report mid-week that the company is being eyed for purchase by Wellington's CentrePort ­ in fact the owners announced on Tuesday that the shipping company was no longer for sale after indicative bids failed to meet its expectations.

Mr Grout said he was at a loss to understand how the newspaper had got it so wrong. Pacifica Transport is the largest New Zealand shipping group, employing 250 people.

It is owned by Dunedin-based Skeggs Group, which invited expressions of interest for Pacifica late last year, after an approach by a prospective buyer.

The directors deemed that shipping was no longer considered a "core" activity even though Pacifica Shipping (1985) has plied coastal trade for more than two decades and is also involved in storage and distribution.

Mr Grout declined to comment on the changes that may lie ahead at the shipping line as it struggles against competition from foreign-owned services that enjoy freedom from ACC levies, New Zealand taxes, and other legislative requirements affecting New Zealand employers.

He said the actions of foreign vessels was akin to "dumping" excess capacity in this country and was also affecting Tranz Rail profitability significantly. Law reform in 1994 paved the way for foreign vessels to ply coastal trade in a move that local shippers said would tip the balance sharply in favour of overseas operators.

Mr Grout said Pacifica offered a more regular service and a two-way service. But the foreign operators undercut local companies on the north-south trade route.

He predicted the balance would tip further in favour of overseas shippers because of new taxes arising from the Kyoto protocol that would be imposed on local companies.

The one encouraging sign on the horizon was the Labour government's recently unveiled transport strategy in the form of the Road Traffic Reduction Bill, which will consider integrating rail, air and road transport with an emphasis on using rail and coastal shipping, he said.

Among the suitors for Pacifica were CentrePoint, and Mainfreight and Owens Group.

Pacifica Shipping is part of the Skeggs Group founded by Sir Clifford Skeggs and its directors include his sons Bryan (who runs the seafood operations of the group), Graeme (a surgeon), and financial controller, David, plus two independent directors, Mr Grout and Ian Farrant.

  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comment:
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares edge lower; power companies under pressure
NZ dollar rises as bets on another OCR cut fade
Broad-based manufacturing pick-up offers silver lining
Global economic outlook not as dark as in August: RBNZ
NZ dollar slips on slew of weak global data, lack of US-China progress
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares recover as investors re-think RBNZ review
NZ dollar falls on weak Aussie jobs numbers, poor China data
Govt media plan won't weaken commercial players - TVNZ
Goodman trust's 1H net profit quadruples on unrealised property gains
Regional house price inflation accelerates in October

IRG See IRG research reports