It is time for Entrust Chair William Cairns to explain why The Australian newspaper believes that a sell down of the Entrust 75.1% shareholding is on the cards (see report below), says City Vision Entrust Team Leader and former cabinet Minister Peter Neilson.
The report in The Australian says merchant banks UBS and Morrison & Co are both believed to be interested in buying the Entrust shares in Vector, possibly now worth $3billion. William Cairns the Chair of Entrust needs to front up and explain why there is all this interest in purchasing the Entrust shareholding in Vector unless someone from Entrust has indicated some plan exists for having a sell down. Willian Cairns should clearly state whether he or other representatives of Entrust or Vector have met with any of the merchant banks named in the article to discuss a possible sell down of the Entrust Vector shares.
Back on 24 August William Cairns said talking about the Trust “it has no plans to reduce its shareholding in Vector” and ‘Entrust is committed to maintaining its stake in Vector, as well as the ongoing payments of dividends to the community, based on Vector’s financial performance’. He went on to say “We are not selling down. End of story”
Those words appear reassuring but may be completely misleading.
Under Clause 14.1 of its Trust Deed the Entrust trustees may advance the termination date for the trust. Prematurely terminating or winding up the trust means the Entrust Vector shares would be granted to Auckland Council for them to receive any future dividends and allowing the Auckland Council to sell the shares. This may explain the cute use of the term “dividends to the community” that is all Auckland ratepayers rather than saying dividends will continue to be paid to the current dividend beneficiaries living in the old Auckland Electric Power Board area as at present.
If the Entrust Vector shares are vested in the Auckland Council then the Entrust trustees will not need to plan to sell them down because the Auckland Council will do it for them.
If the Chair of Entrust does not fully explain and clarify his earlier statements in light of the disclosures in the Australian newspaper City Vision will be forced to organise an on-line petition to protect the future dividends for the existing beneficiaries. It would be an outrage if the incumbent Entrust trustees were to try and wind up the trust prematurely without any mandate from the electors and before the October Entrust trustee election outcomes were known.
Peter Neilson leads the City Vision Entrust ticket for the Entrust election, with postal voting between the 11th and 26th of October 2018. City Vision is strongly opposed to either a further sell-down of the Entrust Vector shares or a premature wind up of the Trust to allow Auckland Council to sell the Vector shares concluded Peter Neilson.