Toll NZ buys $59.5m site from Fletcher for new freight forwarding facility

The deal involved a 17.2 hectare plot of land in Otahuhu and an 8,400 square metre site that involved a land swap.

Toll Group NZ, whose parent Toll Holdings in Australia was bought by Japan Post for A$6.5 billion last year, has purchased a new site in Auckland's suburb of Otahuhu for $59.5 million, where it wants to build a new freight forward facility with access to KiwiRail's rail network.

The freight forwarding company bought the site from Fletcher Building subsidiary Fletcher Steel and ex-Fletcher unit Pacific Steel, which is now owned by ASX-listed Bluescope. The transaction received Overseas Investment Office approval on May 30 and involved a 17.2 hectare plot of land in Otahuhu and an 8,400 square metre site that involved a land swap, according to a summary of the decision summary released today.

Toll "intends to construct a new freight forwarding facility on the land with access to the KiwiRail network. This will allow it to centralise its operations in Auckland," the OIO note said. "The overseas investment is likely to result in the introduction of substantial capital for the development of the new facility, employment opportunities in the construction of the new facility and increased efficiency in freight handling and the applicant's business operations in Auckland."

Toll operates the TranzLink trucking and freight logistics operations in New Zealand, having bought what is now the state-owned KiwiRail from American investors who bought the rail service when it was privatised in the mid-1990s. It remains the biggest customer of state-owned KiwiRail.

The local Toll holding company changed its balance date last year after the Japan Post takeover, and its latest accounts filed with the Companies Office show it generated a profit of $5.9 million on revenue of $278.3 million in the nine months ended March 31, 2016.

When Japan Post bought Australia's Toll Holdings, the deal valued the New Zealand business at $118 million, according to the OIO decision approving the deal.