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Hong Kong group UBNZ's purchase of four Crafar farms to be probed by OIO

Friday 7th May 2010

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The Overseas Investment Office is investigating the purchase of four farms in the Crafar group by a Hong Kong investment group which has proposed spending as much as $1.5 billion on New Zealand dairy assets.

The OIO probe is on whether the transactions breached the Overseas Investment Act by not obtaining the required consents. UBNZ Funds Management  bought two farms on February 11 at Norsewood and Waitotara. Four days later two farms were acquired in the Manawatu.

Once purchased the farms were immediately transferred to an associate company, UBNZ Assets Holdings.

“It is an offence for an overseas person or an associate of an overseas person to buy sensitive land without consent and significant penalties apply,” said Annelies McClure, manager of the OIO, in a statement.

Breaches of the Act can attract a fine or civil penalty of up to $300,000. The OIO said the investigation is expected to take several months “due to the complexity of the transactions and the need to source and thoroughly analyse the information.”


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