Treble Cone skifield commitment reaffirmed

Majority shareholder in Wanaka's Treble Cone skifield John Darby this week reaffirmed his commitment to the business, despite standing down from the skifield company's board.

Mr Darby was chairman of the board of Treble Cone Investments but ceased to be a director on May 28.

His position has been taken by one of his employees, Donald Fletcher, of Queenstown.

The only other director, David Hogg, is also an employee of Mr Darby.

Mr Darby's company, Heritage Incline Ltd, holds 60% of the shares of Treble Cone Investments.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, Mr Darby said his reason for standing down was that he would be overseas for the rest of the winter.

''So I decided rather than try to do it remotely from off shore I will get some of my key staff into the board.

''I still remain chairman and major shareholder of the owning company, so it's nothing more than an internal reassignment of tasks inside our office really.''

He would make the decision about who would chair the board nearer to the annual meeting later this month, Mr Darby said.

Mr Hogg had acted as chairman in the past and Mr Fletcher was ''a very experienced corporate executive''.

Mr Darby said he also hoped to find another director from among the minority shareholders.

''We are talking to some other parties about seeing whether they would wish to join the board.

''That's a matter for discussion at the AGM.''

Mr Darby said his company had invested more than $6 million in the skifield, which made it the major shareholder by ''a very long way''.

Asked if he might review his level of shareholding, Mr Darby said: ''I am not really going to disclose to you what our plans are re shareholding except that we remain the major shareholder and committed to TC and have no intention at all of departing.

''In fact, if anything, we are looking to see how we can grow that business.

''And that's why I've brought some of my key executives on to the board, because there's a lot of work to be done this winter and I'm looking to them rolling their sleeves up.''

He believed the skifield's profitability could be improved and suggested an injection of capital was a possibility.

''What we are doing is looking to what is the best way to grow the business at TC and make it even more successful. It's a bit early to say what we are doing,'' he said. Richard Hanson, of Queenstown, also ceased to be Mr Darby's alternate director on the Treble Cone board on May 28.

- mark.price@odt.co.nz