Cardrona seeking to acquire Treble Cone

Treble Cone is regarded as a field for more advanced skiers. Photo: ODT files
Treble Cone is regarded as a field for more advanced skiers. Photo: ODT files
Engaged and hopefully due to enter the ''perfect marriage'' in a couple of months.

That was the view yesterday of one of the 59 shareholders of the Treble Cone skifield being courted by the Cardrona Alpine Resort.

The two companies have signed a heads of agreement and Cardrona will carry out due diligence before putting an offer to Treble Cone shareholders at a special meeting.

If approved, Treble Cone would be owned and managed by the Cardrona Resort - which along with Real Journeys is part of the newly-formed holding company Wayfare Group.

A spokeswoman for the group confirmed last night a conditional agreement was in place.

The group employs between 1000 and 1500 tourism industry staff.

The shareholder, who did not want to be named, said Treble Cone would complement Cardrona which would also get the largely undeveloped Soho Basin as part of the deal.

''You put that in with what Cardrona has and you have the [best] product in Australasia.

''There is nothing to beat that product.

''I think for both businesses ... and for Wanaka, it's an absolutely ideal situation.''

Treble Cone is 35 minute drive from Wanaka and 90 minutes from Queenstown and is regarded as a field for more advanced skiers.

''It is not the high-volume crowded model that the others offer.

''All that is wonderful but it makes it very difficult to be a stand-alone model financially.

''It needs to be part of a wider group, and in my opinion this is the perfect marriage.''

He described the Cardrona operation as ''highly professional''.

It had a strong balance sheet and financial resources - ''all the things I think Treble Cone is lacking''.

Treble Cone is the closest skifield to Wanaka and has the longest runs in the Lakes District.

It was founded in 1968 by Murray Raffills and Ralph Markby and was owned for a time by Tourism Holdings.

About 50 local skiers stepped in to buy the field 17 years ago, and since then Queenstown developer John Darby has become the majority shareholder. He could not be contacted last night.

Treble Cone

• Ski area size: 550ha
• Lifted vertical: 700m
• Longest run: 4km
• Summit elevation: 2088m
• Base buildings: 1250m
• Beginner terrain: 10%
• Intermediate terrain: 45%
• Advanced terrain: 45%

mark.price@odt.co.nz

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