DCHL report further delayed

Turnover at the top has again delayed a review of the Dunedin City Council's group of companies, but the wait could soon be over, Dunedin City Holdings Ltd chairman Graham Crombie says.

Mr Crombie told the Otago Daily Times the report - presenting the risk profile and options facing each of DCHL's subsidiary companies - was likely to be ready for councillors by the end of the year.

Plans for the review emerged early last year when it was suggested the report would examine company assets and identify those that were underperforming and possible candidates for sale.

That came after the publication of the Larsen report - outlining improvements needed within DCHL - in 2011, after DCHL's multimillion-dollar shortfall in dividends to the council.

The Larsen report had suggested asset sales might be needed - ''however unpalatable from a historical perspective'' - to address rising council debt levels.

The report into DCHL assets had been expected by July last year, but the due date had been pushed back repeatedly. In June this year, then-DCHL chairman Denham Shale - since replaced by Mr Crombie - said the report was expected within two months.

However, Mr Crombie said this week the report was still not complete, and had been delayed again by recent turnover in senior positions, including his own appointment as chairman.

DCHL also had new directors, while the council had new city councillors, and the arrival of the council's new group chief financial officer, Grant McKenzie, and a new chief executive, were both imminent.

Mr Crombie said he expected the report would now be finished by the end of the year, in time to give to councillors ahead of council budget meetings beginning in January.

It would serve as a briefing for councillors on DCHL's subsidiary companies, including examining their income streams, as well as the risks they faced and the implications for the council, he said.

However, it was ''probably a step too far'' to suggest asset sales would form the thrust of the report, which would instead offer ''options'' for each of the companies, he said.

What to do with the information would be up to councillors to decide, he said.

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