Michael Spaans Chairman Waikato Innovation Park Board Michael Spaans Chairman Waikato Innovation Park Board CREDIT: Innovation Waikato Limited

Waikato Innovation Park seeks private investment to foster growth

Tuesday 10 May 2011, 3:20PM
By Innovation Waikato Limited


The two shareholders of the Waikato Innovation Park - Hamilton City Council and The Katolyst Group – are to approve the Park’s Board of Directors to seek capital investment from an agricultural sector investment company that will in turn take on a 50% shareholding in the Park.

The Park’s holding company, Innovation Waikato Limited (IWL), intends to issue 1247 new shares to Eden AgriCapital Ltd in exchange for a 50% interest of IWL valued at somewhere between $11 and $15m. A fair value is to be established by independent valuers.

If the transaction is concluded, the new shareholding would see Eden AgriCapital holding 50%, Katolyst holding 40.45%, and Hamilton City Council holding 9.55%.

IWL Chairman, Michael Spaans, says the capital investment will help the Park access the cash it needs to achieve its core economic development objective.

“The Waikato Innovation Park is in a healthy financial position. Both our cashflows and operating profits are sustainable. However, to achieve our 4% GDP regional growth target, we must be able to access more equity to develop national and international business opportunities.

“The real winner out of this deal will be New Zealand-based agricultural businesses. Access to more cash means the Park can develop more business opportunities that will allow our tenants and other agritechnology companies to grow and export,” he explains.

A shareholding by Eden AgriCapital could see the Waikato Innovation Park model replicated across New Zealand. Mr Spaans said if future Parks go ahead, Eden AgriCapital would provide the funding and get first rights to all investment opportunities emerging from the Parks, and associated companies, while IWL would operate the Parks and provide consulting and management services to the investment companies.

Hamilton City Council will have the opportunity to approve the process to seek private investment to Innovation Waikato Ltd in a council meeting on the 18th May.

Mr Spaans said IWL will now enter negotiations with Eden AgriCapital and hopes a successful deal can be concluded within three months. Eden AgriCapital plans to initially raise $50 million to invest in a national network of primary sector focussed innovation parks, establish associated companies to deliver agricultural solutions into export markets, and establish international joint ventures for the ownership of agricultural infrastructure assets. This investment vehicle will be a unique opportunity to participate in the innovation and international commercialisation of New Zealand’s primary sector.