Receivers out as farm sale settled

Dairy farmers Wilma and Aad van Leeuwen. Photo: Supplied
Dairy farmers Wilma and Aad van Leeuwen. Photo: Supplied
The receivership for the high-profile Van Leeuwen Group (VLG) has ended, records show.

A notice by VLG’s receivers, Calibre Partners, was posted on the Companies Office website earlier this week stating the receivership for VLG and its 15 subsidiaries had concluded.

VLG was placed in receivership in April under the terms of a general security agreement with an Australian-based fund manager Merrick Capital.

Following that, the New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZRLC) announced it would purchase 14 Van Leeuwen Group dairy farms, spanning 6350ha in South Canterbury and North Otago, for $122million and lease them back to VLG-owned companies.

The settlement for that transaction was on Tuesday.

The Companies Office website shows New Zealand Central Securities Depository Limited (NZCSD) is a 45% shareholder of NZRLC, and that NZCSD’s only shareholder is the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

NZRLC director Christopher Swasbrook told Rural News NZCSD was ‘‘simply a custodian of other people’s shares.’’

On Tuesday morning, NZRLC entered a trading halt while the transaction took place and it resumed trading yesterday morning.

NZRLC funded the purchase with $75million cash in hand and the balance in new debt from Rabobank.

A purchase of that scale had to be approved by the company’s shareholders according to the Companies Act and NZX rules.

At a meeting last week, 100% of NZRLC’s shareholders present agreed to the deal.

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