Vealls closer to selling NZ ski field business

Diversified Australian investment and property company Vealls is a step closer to selling its ski field business in New Zealand just as big snowfalls are predicted.

Diversified Australian investment and property company Vealls is a step closer to selling its ski field business in New Zealand just as big snowfalls are predicted.

Real Journeys says it is the preferred bidder for Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort between Wanaka and Queenstown, New Zealand, which Vealls is selling as part of a previously announced restructuring.

Earlier this year Vealls said that following a review into its operations it had decided to shrink its geographical base to exit Australia, New Zealand and France and only conduct its business in Singapore.

Vealls is seeking to sell or unwind its business investments and will seek to invest in Asian securities listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and other Asian regional markets.

The sale of its New Zealand ski field business is subject to Real Journeys, a locally owned tourism business operator, checking the books of the business and approval by its shareholders.

"We are hopeful of a positive outcome to the sale process and some heavy snowfalls over the coming weeks," Real Journeys chief executive Richard Lauder said. He may get his way as a very cold south-westerly flow will blast the South Island on Tuesday.

Ahead of the sale, there was speculation that Merlin Entertainment, which owns Madame Tussauds, Legoland, the London Eye and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World in Auckland, was a bidder.

NZ Ski Ltd, which owns Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt and The Remarkables ski areas, was also believed to be interested, as was Skyline Enterprises, which owns the gondola in Queenstown.

Vealls' ski field business in New Zealand produced a net profit of $5.7 million in the six months to December 31, and had a book value of $40.93 million.

The company also holds land in NSW and Victoria. It will use funds raised from the ski fields and land sales to transform itself into an investment company.

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