Trustees ‘wiser’ after firm failure
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