'Pleasing' interest in offer

Hunter Downs Irrigation should know by tomorrow whether it has succeeded in its bid to raise more than $4 million for the next stage of the scheme.

The initial share offer closed on April 4, but chief executive Brian Elwood said some applications were still being processed.

"We don't know the numbers yet, but we're pleased with the level of interest so far," he said.

"We should know by Wednesday afternoon. We will decide what happens next once we have the final tally."

The scheme, which has consents to irrigate up to 40,000 hectares of South Canterbury farmland north of the Waitaki River, launched its initial offer for 40,000 partly paid ordinary shares in March.

The scheme received water consents in 2011, but it needs to raise money for "pre-construction", which includes obtaining the relevant land-use consents and further investigative work.

The prospectus said it aimed to start construction in 2016.

Last year, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) granted the scheme $640,000 from its "irrigation acceleration fund".

According to the prospectus, MPI has given its approval "in principle" to contribute up to $7.05m to the pre-construction work of the scheme.

The Timaru Herald