Buller District Council

Media Release- Council negotiating to secure option to buy Holcim assets

13th April, 2018

The Buller District Council (BDC) is negotiating an option to purchase all of Holcim’s assets in the Buller district. The proposal forms one of the key aspects that Council will seek community feedback on in its upcoming Long-Term Plan process.

The Holcim properties include assets at Westport, Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay. They include a water supply and treatment plant, a quarry, residential land, pastoral land, waterfront silos, packing plant, and the key land holding of the former cement manufacturing plant at Cape Foulwind. Holcim recently ceased their cement-manufacturing operations in Westport after 58 years of operation.

Buller District Council Mayor Garry Howard said, “Council has been motivated to negotiate a conditional Sale and Purchase Agreement for Holcim’s Buller assets for a range of reasons”. Our initial assessment indicates buying the assets could significantly mitigate the negative impact on ratepayers from the Holcim closure” he said. “We’re very mindful of the strong community interest in the Tauranga Bay-Cape Foulwind Peninsula and its future, the potential for the Holcim quarry to support coastal and river protection initiatives throughout Buller, the potential for the assets to assist in the development of the Kawatiri Coastal Cycle Trail from Westport to Charleston – both in terms of land access and supply of quarry rock for trail surfacing, and last but not least, the potential for acquired assets to support prospective business opportunities”.

Negotiations have been facilitated by an independent property specialist, JLL, and whilst yet to be concluded, negotiations recognise Holcim’s long association with the Buller District and its desire to support a community it has been a part of for many years. “Holcim are pleased that through this sale option, we have been able to balance the commercial realities for us as a business while still contributing to a community that we have been privileged to be a part of for over 50 years” said Mark Campbell, CEO of Holcim Australia & New Zealand. While a number of aspects still need to be discussed and agreed, the BDC and Holcim have agreed in principle to a sale price of $5.0M for the 521 ha of land and the associated assets included in the purchase.

Within the middle stages of 2018, the BDC will consult with the Buller community on the potential purchase as part of its 2018 Long Term Plan. The BDC will also hold information sessions for interested persons if and when negotiations are concluded and agreement is reached.

Under proposed arrangements, the BDC would have six months to undertake due diligence and any other investigations necessary to satisfy itself before taking up the purchase option. Due diligence would include review of all available property reports (including detailed environmental reports) and if purchased, Holcim will retain responsibility for any existing environmental liabilities that resulted from their cement manufacturing operations for a period of 5 years. Under proposed arrangements, Holcim will also retain responsibility for the costs and physical works associated with demolishing disused buildings and infrastructure associated with its cement manufacturing plant at Cape Foulwind and Packing Plant in Westport.  “These terms reflect the constructive engagement we have enjoyed with Holcim as part of the process and we hope to conclude proposed terms in the very near future. I think they send a clear statement that Holcim wish the best for the Buller district” Howard said.

 

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