Cardrona could end up in hands of local owners
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Australian shareholders have cleared the sale of Cardrona Alpine Resort, increasing the odds a local tourism company could soon rival NZSki for a cut of the lucrative southern ski market.
Cardrona's parent company, Toorak-based Vealls was advised by the Australian Stock Exchange that shareholder approval was needed to advance a sale that had moved to "final negotiation" stages with Real Journeys.
On Friday Vealls shareholders showed overwhelming support for the sale, Australian Stock Exchange records show.
In May Real Journeys was identified as "preferred bidder" among a clutch of buyers that included international tourism operators and Queenstown's own Trojan Holdings - the parent company of NZSki, which operates Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt ski fields.
Vealls company director's comments show that Cardrona had turned a healthy profit, contributing a large chunk to Vealls $14.6 million revenue in the past financial year.
Real Journeys runs treks, excursions and cruises, trips to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Stewart Island, the TSS Earnslaw and other scenic attractions. It was earmarked as the preferred bidder in pre-sale negotiations for the resort, widely regarded as one of the best South Island skifields.
Other companies interested in the resort include international entertainment giant Merlin Entertainment, the owner of the London Eye, Legoland and Madame Tussauds, and Queenstown-based Skyline Enterprises and Trojan Holdings.
Vealls has steered the skifield through boom-and-bust periods for 23 years, during which the huge popularity of snowboarding developed.
The company - with interests in agriculture, forestry, property development, real estate investment and securities - announced a restructure of its portfolio this year and a shift to concentrate its operations in Singapore.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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