A merger of three of New Zealand’s five largest motorhome providers has been given the green light by Tourism Holdings Ltd.’s (THL) shareholders.
According to a report by the Fairfax New Zealand News, the listed company’s board announced last month that it had offered $69.5 million to the owners of Kea Campers and United Rentals to acquire their companies. The deal was sealed with little fuss at a special shareholders’ meeting in Auckland yesterday.
THL, a motorhome rental firm, reported 97% proxies had voted in favour of the merger, while a show of hands at the meeting was unanimous.
THL will pay $7.4m through the issue of 12 million THL shares at 62 cents per share, with $3.9 million worth being distributed to the owners of United, while $3.4 million worth will go to Kea’s owners. A further $3.2 million will be paid in cash for the businesses, as well as the refinancing of $50.9 millon of debt in the companies.
A deferred payment of up to $8 million is contingent on meeting the expected sale price of motorhome vehicles.
The merger creates an entity with assets of $157 million, combined revenues of $95 million and a vehicle fleet of 2,500, though this will reduce to a total fleet size of 1,800 within two years.
THL said consumers would not see any immediate change to THL’s suite of seven motorhome brands: Maui, Britz, Mighty, Kea, United, Alpha and Econo.
THL chief executive Grant Webster said visitor numbers from Europe and the United Kingdom were stagnant, which meant the New Zealand market was oversupplied with motorhomes. He estimated the number of motorhomes for rent had increased 5% in the past three years, despite average visitor numbers from Europe and Britain falling.
Tourism Holdings Ltd. (THL) shareholders will on Friday (Oct. 19) vote on a plan that will shake up the motorhome business in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the campervan rental company operates more than 1,500 vehicles or about 27% of the market and through the proposed $69.5 million merger with rivals United Campervans and KEA Campers will lift that stake to close to 45%.
The transaction is forecast to lift annual revenue to $241.3 million in 2014 from this year’s $200 million, with profit rising to $14.8 million from this year’s $4.5 million.
Motorhomes are the backbone of THL’s business and the deal will enable an efficient approach to fleet management, according to THL. The KEA and United businesses will be fully integrated into THL, enabling operating cost cuts through the consolidation of leases, back-office savings, better buying terms and staff reductions.
THL’s payment for KEA and United includes the refinancing of $50.9 million in debt, 12 million THL shares at 61.9 cents each and $3.2 million in cash.
New Zealand-based campervan rental firm Tourism Holdings Ltd. (THL) said its annual earnings had recovered to pre-global financial crisis levels, driven in part by a pick-up in motorhome rental activity during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the company said the cup, tight cost control, operational improvements and the first full-year contribution from its United States motorhome business, helped drive the 2011-12 annual net profit to $4.3 million, which compared with a loss of $27.3 million in the previous year. The prior year’s loss included a non-cash goodwill write-down of $26.1 million.
The company said the broad macro-economic factors for tourism worldwide were still of concern, especially as its primary market opportunities are centered in Europe and the United Kingdom.
“Other market opportunities such as China and East and South East Asia are appealing to many tourism operators, but they do not yet have strong traditions for self-managed itineraries that are the focus of THL’s operations,” the company said. “New Zealand still holds a strong positive reputation internationally, however, this needs to be balanced against the price expectations of the customer when comparing alternative destinations.”
The United States market was benefiting from a lower U.S. dollar but the Australian market held some uncertainty, the company said.
New Zealand-based campervan rental firm Tourism Holdings Ltd. (THL) has acquired the Kea motorhome brand in Australia from Kea New Zealand for an undisclosed sum.
Sharechat.co.nz reported that the purchase will add about 5% to THL’s Australian fleet of about 1,450 vehicles, according to CEO Grant Webster.
The previous agents for Kea Australia have ceased trading and appointed liquidators for their business.
Webster said the circumstances of the sale meant THL was able to make the acquisition for a favorable price.
THL and Kea New Zealand in February formed a joint venture to run their respective motorhome and campervan manufacturing businesses.
THL has leased enough of the Kea design fleet to ensure there is minimal disruption for existing customers, it said in a statement on Friday (June 15).
“The Kea brand in Australia nicely compliments THL’s existing Maui motorhome product in Australia, providing a different vehicle and experience that extends and enhances the THL product suite,” Webster said.
THL and Kea New Zealand plan to “explore potential cost synergies between their businesses” in the future.
The acquisition won’t have a material impact on THL’s results for the year ending June 30.
New Zealand’s Tourism Holdings Ltd. returned to profit in the first half as it got a lift from an influx of visitors for the Rugby World Cup.
Reuters reported that the troubled caravan rental operator and tourist site operator posted a profit of $3.5 million in the six months to Dec. 31, compared with a $1.3 million loss a year ago.
The company said it expected a profit of between $4.2 million to $5 million for the full year, from last year’s $22.8 million loss.
It announced a dividend of two cents per share, after failing to reward shareholders during the previous year.
Tourism Holdings on Tuesday (Feb. 21) announced a partnership with Kea Manufacturing (New Zealand) Limited to create RV Manufacturing Group LP (RVMG), which would buy the motorhome and caravan manufacturing businesses of the two companies.
The announcement came after a failed takeover offer of Tourism Holdings by Ballylinch, a limited New Zealand partnership believed to be an investment vehicle for New York-based private equity investor Sterling Grace.
New Zealand-based motorhome rentals operator Tourism Holdings Ltd. (THL) and Kea Manufacturing NZ announced they are forming a joint venture under which they will split out and merge their recreational vehicle and campervan manufacturing units into a stand-alone business – a move that will axe 63 jobs.
Stuff.co.nz reported that under the terms of the deal, the two tourism companies will sell their manufacturing facilities to RV Manufacturing Group LP (RVMG), which also includes the sale of THL’s specialist body business.
The deal, which is separate to their respective rentals and vehicle sales businesses, will see THL shed 63 jobs when it closes its motorhome assembly business in Hamilton, the company said.
Around $7.5 million worth of THL assets will be transferred, partly representing the company’s capital contribution to RVMG, with the remainder seen as an advance. The company said the sale is not expected to have a negative impact on pre-tax earnings.
RVMG’s main manufacturing facility will be based at Kea Manufacturing’s plant in Auckland, while the specialist and body work business will operate from THL’s Motek Specialist vehicles site in Hamilton.
The building owned by THL in Hamilton will remain with the company and is expected to be put up for sale shortly. The agreements are due to settle by March 1.
Campervan operator Tourism Holdings Ltd. has reported a second-quarter after-tax loss due mostly to a write-down on its New Zealand and Australian rentals business, according to a report on Stuff.co.nz.
However, tough trading conditions have played their part. The company signaled the $26 million non-cash goodwill write-down on its rentals businesses in May.
It has announced a net loss after tax of $27.3 million for the year to June, down from a $4.6 million profit in 2010.
The corporate said its tourism sector businesses had been impacted by the effects of the recurring Christchurch earthquakes, the Queensland floods and the high New Zealand dollar against the euro and the pound.
It said the most appropriate comparative measure of its performance was operating earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT), which was $4.3 million, down from $9.9 million the previous year.
However there were bright spots. Its U.S. motorhome sales and rentals business Road Bear, purchased in December, achieved EBIT of $0.3 million, which was above expectations.
More production for Australia helped its caravan and campervan manufacturing subsidiary Ci Munro achieve EBIT of $0.5 million, compared with a loss of $1.9 million last year.
Revenue for the group increased from $182 million to $196 million, including six months of Road Bear and increased fleet sales.
Fleet sales including Road Bear generated $41 million of revenue and $7.0 million of margin, compared with $30 million and $4.4 million a year earlier.
Its total fleet size increased from 3,000 to 3,773, including those acquired with the purchase of Road Bear.
U.S. investment firm Ballylinch LP recently acquired 19.1% of Tourism Holdings Ltd (THL) from U.S. funds Sterling Grace Capital Management, Field Nominees, John Grace and Sterling Grace International for $17.2 million. The partial takeover offer gives Ballylinch LP control of New Zealand’s biggest campervan rental firm.
John Grace is also the sole director of Ballylinch, whose owner is listed as Scanhard Trustee, owned by John Orton and Jonathan Heaphy of Havelock North. Ballylinch is offering 67.5 cents a share for as much as 40.85% of the shares, which would bring its holding to about 60%, reported the New Zealand Herald.
However, the Herald report indicated that the offer is conditional on gaining a controlling stake of at least 50%. In a statement, Grace reiterated that the offer will provide Ballylinch with the ability to further invest in THL.
Grace noted that he has been a supporter of THL for many years and in these difficult times believes a company as important as THL in an industry as important to New Zealand as Tourism should have a stable cornerstone shareholder. Grace reiterated his confidence that the offer will be well supported by both big and small shareholders in the firm.
Major shareholders of Tourism Holdings include the Accident Compensation Corporation. However, the New Zealand Herald revealed that a New York private equity company is linked to Ballylinch LP and may be behind its bid for a controlling stake in Tourism Holdings.
According to a Bloomberg company overview, 53-year-old John Grace – director of Ballylinch LP’s general partner Ballylinch General – is the founder and chairman of the New York-based investment firm Sterling Grace Corporation, said the Herald report.