Rangatira cashed up and ready to invest

Wellington  investment company Rangatira says it has about $20 million for new investments and is still looking for "good opportunities".

Rangatira, which is in the process of buying a majority stake in Auckland theme park Rainbow's End, yesterday posted an after-tax profit of $3m for the September half-year.

After a slower first half, the profit was down from $4.9m in the same period last year.

Chief executive Ian Frame said the company planned to make more unlisted investments in New Zealand.

"We are actively looking to invest in up to two mid-sized companies that have good growth opportunities and require additional capital to take them to the next stage."

Rangatira has assets worth more than $150m, and is 51 per cent owned by the JR McKenzie Trust, with other community and charity groups holding another 15 per cent. The balance is in private hands.

Its portfolio includes Auckland Packaging Company, bacon business Hellers and Rotorua's Polynesian Spa.

Rangatira has progressively reinvested the money from the sale of Tecpak and Dunlop Living last year.

In the half-year, Rangatira paid $3.5m for a 15 per cent stake in Konnect Net, and invested $3.8m in Partners Life. The total investment in Partners Life, a fast-growing insurance company, is now $8.3m, for about 9 per cent of the company.

Konnect Net's computer systems link insurance companies with insurance agents and healthcare operators to streamline policy applications, management and claims.

Despite the lower profit, Rangatira will still pay a fully imputed dividend of 18 cents a share, the same as last year. The dividend will be paid on December 10.

Rangatira said the net asset value of its shares was $9.26 at the end of September, compared with $8.77 at the end of March. The shares are listed on the Unlisted share platform and will trade ex-dividend from December 3.

Rangatira chairman Murray Gough said the slower half-year reflected the phasing of project work in one of its main investments, Contract Resources. Contract Resources does specialised engineering maintenance, industrial cleaning and other related services for refineries, petrochemical plants and mining processing plants.

But the outlook for each of its companies meant Rangatira still expected full-year operating earnings to be up 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

This week, Rangatira's $10m bid for 74.86 per cent of NZ Experience, owner of Rainbow's End, was accepted. Rangatira is now required under the Takeovers Code to make a bid for the remaining shares.