Todd Corp backing $300m internet cable

Todd Corporation is the equity partner prepared to invest in Hawaiki Cable's proposed US$300 million cable between New Zealand, Australia and the United States, according to an industry source.

Hawaiki chief executive Remi Galasso said last week he was confident he was only a few weeks away from confirming plans to lay the fibre-optic communications cable, which would break the Southern Cross Cable's near monopoly over New Zealand's international internet connectivity.

Galasso said he had lined up "a very committed, major New Zealand company" to provide equity and an Australasian bank to provide debt financing.

He today declined to confirm Todd was the equity partner, saying a statement was being prepared.

Todd Corporation corporate affairs manager Mike Munro also would not comment when contacted earlier. "Todd is a privately-held family-owned company and it doesn't discuss any investment conversations in the media," he said.

Although Todd's major interests are in the energy and property sectors, it has dabbled in both technology and healthcare investment, for example by becoming a founding investor in internet provider Woosh. It sold its 11.1 per cent stake in Sky Television for $218m in 2012.

Hawaiki's 25 terabit-per-second cable would run between Sydney, Whangarei and Oregon in the United States, potentially connecting several Pacific islands en route.

The company is registered in Auckland. Galasso, who spent much of his career with French telecommunications multinational Alcatel before setting up his own business in Noumea, moved to Queenstown in January.

All that remained was for Hawaiki to finish converting the last "letters of intent" it already had from customers into firm contracts and, once they were signed, "complete the bank process to unlock the funds", he said last week. The 13,127-kilometre cable network would be laid by US company TE SubCom and is expected to be commissioned by March 2016.