Oakridge companies go under

BY BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 15/09/2009

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The developer of Wanaka's largest resort said he had lost everything he owned after it was placed in receivership when plans for a development next to it fell through.

Six companies associated with Oakridge Resort were placed in receivership on Thursday by financier South Canterbury Finance after a default on loan payments.

Developer Par Hallberg, the sole director of all six companies, said money owed to South Canterbury Finance was related to unrealised plans for a 48-villa development on 25ha of land beside the resort.

After he paid for the land and resource consent, arrangements with an Australian buyer had fallen through, Mr Hallberg said.

"I have lost everything I own," he said.

He would not comment on how much money he owed South Canterbury Finance or how much he had sunk into the new development.

The receivership means the land, the resort's two restaurants, conference centre, reception area, gym, pool, and Mr Hallberg's own house, are owned by South Canterbury Finance.

The 173 rooms at the resort are not included in the receivership, having already been sold to small investors.

Mr Hallberg said while he had lost everything, it would be business as usual at the resort for everybody else.

"The fact (is) that none of the suppliers have lost money, no-one has lost their job. I can still walk with a straight back into town," Mr Hallberg said.

Receiver Gordon Hansen, of Goldsmith Fox PKF, confirmed it would be business as usual at the resort for now.

"There's more value in keeping the operation than closing it down," Mr Hansen said.

Financing the land acquisition and development had been a drain on the resort business, he said.

"The cash was being supplied from the operational costs to pay the interest."

Mr Hansen also would not comment on how much money South Canterbury Finance was owed, other than it was in the millions and "substantial relative to the business".The companies placed in receivership are Nord Ltd, Oakridge Resort Ltd, Oakridge Resort Holding Ltd, Oakridge Land Holdings Ltd, Oakridge Pool and Spa Resort Ltd and Northern Link Developments Ltd.

South Canterbury Finance would not comment, referring all questions to the receiver.

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- The Southland Times

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