Trus­tees ‘wiser’ af­ter firm fail­ure

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SI­MON ED­WARDS

The com­mer­cial prop­erty down­turn and the fail­ure of in­su­la­tion com­pany En­er­gys­mart has cost Hutt Val­ley, Porirua and North Welling­ton peo­ple $2.61 mil­lion in com­mu­nity funds.

Hutt Mana Char­i­ta­ble Trust has filed its June 2011 an­nual re­turn with the Char­i­ties Com­mis­sion.

It con­firms the bad news that was ex­pected to en­sue when En­er­gys­mart – a na­tion­wide in­su­la­tion in­stal­la­tion com­pany owned by the trust – was put into liq­ui­da­tion last Septem­ber.

On be­half of res­i­dents, the trust looks af­ter a residue of as­sets from the 1990s carve-up of power boards and pay­outs to pre­vi­ous cus­tomers. In June 2010 its as­sets to­talled $38.15 mil­lion; as at June last year that had slumped to $34.67m.

Chair­man Ian Hutch­ings said last week that 2011 was a ‘‘very sad year’’ for the trust. ‘‘It’s most dis­ap­point­ing but the trust is still alive – and, I think, bet­ter in­formed and wiser.’’

The 2010-11 net deficit was $2.3m, which comes on top of a $1.24m deficit in the pre­vi­ous year, the lat­ter due to in­vest­ment funds tak­ing a hit from the global fi­nan­cial down­turn.

Last Au­gust, the trust sold its build­ing at 40-42 Rail­way Ave in Lower Hutt, oc­cu­pied in part by En­er­gys­mart, for $1.25m. The sale price rep­re­sented a $ 956,478 value.

An­other $ 61,000 im­pair­ment was suf­fered on the trust’s in­vest­ment in Smartlinx3, which comes on top of the $725,000 loss on the value of the trust’s shares in the broad­band com­pany in 2009-10.

Trus­tees be­lieve the final pay­out from En­er­gys­mart to un­se­cured cred­i­tors, in­clud­ing the trust, will be 40 cents in the dol­lar. That would mean the trust had lost $1.65m on that ven­ture.

Asked if the trust would in fu­ture shy away from run­ning its own busi­nesses or in­vest­ing in pri­vate com­pa­nies, Mr Hutch­ings said there was a trustee elec­tion ev­ery three years.

‘‘Fast for­ward 10 years, or even five years, and there could be a com­pletely new set of trus­tees. Who knows what their view will be at the time.

‘‘The cur­rent trus­tees will be very wary, I’m sure of that.’’

Bright spots in the 2011 re­port were that the trust gave out $594,419 in com­mu­nity grants and sup­ported en­er­gy­ef­fi­ciency projects to the tune of $403,894.

‘‘The good news things we main­tained but the back-room stuff was bad – ab­so­lutely,’’ Mr Hutch­ings said.

The trust’s an­nual meet­ing will be held at 5.30pm on Thurs­day, May 17, at Pataka, Porirua.

‘‘ im­pair­ment’’ on its book

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