The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has granted consent for Australian-owned NZB Finco Limited to buy NZ Bus.
NZ Bus operates urban bus services in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington. It is currently owned by Swift Transport, which is owned by Infratil Limited.
NZB Finco plans to use its industry experience to grow and improve NZ Bus.
Upgrades are also planned for the company’s Auckland and Wellington bus depots, which it says will create more job opportunities.
The purchase required consent under the Overseas Investment Act as it is a transaction involving significant business assets worth more than $100 million.
The OIO assessed the application under the benefit to New Zealand pathway. This requires the applicant to meet the investor test and for the investment to result in substantial and identifiable benefits.
NZB Finco will also acquire a leasehold interest in property considered ‘sensitive land’ under the Overseas Investment Act. This includes land used for its bus depots in Lower Hutt, Wellington and Auckland.
NZB Finco is owned by funds managed by Next Capital Pty Limited, an Australian private equity firm. Next Capital has experience in the bus transport sector in Australia and New Zealand.
The full decision can be read here.