CCHL was set up 1993 in response to calls for a confidential independent non-political buffer between the Council and the companies it owned. CCHL therefore ensures that a commercial approach is taken to managing the interface with the Council’s companies.
The Council’s investment in CCHL and its subsidiary companies was independently valued at over $1.5 billion in June 2014. CCHL has a Standard and Poor’s credit rating of A+.
The trading companies pay regular dividends to CCHL. In turn, CCHL pays dividends of around $38m a year to the Council. The CCHL group companies have also provided significant capital for the Council to fund other projects.
CCHL is moving towards playing a more proactive role in supporting the Council's aim of making Christchurch a "world class boutique city" by investing in, or promoting the establishment of, key infrastructure assets in a commercially viable mannner. Areas such as high speed telecommunications, water, security of energy supply and integrated transport have been identified as key regional infrastructure priorities, and CCHL will examine these to ascertain whether there are gaps that cannot be filled by the private sector or existing Council operations. The company will take a role in filling these gaps, whether by joint ventures, public/private partnerships or by acting as a catalyst for investment by others.
CCHL has no desire to replicate or compete with private sector operations, but recognises that there will be projects that are not suitable for private sector investment. CCHL will require a sound business case to underpin any investment, but recognises that a lower rate of return, or slower path to profitability, may be appropriate in some cases.
CCHL functions in relation to existing investments
In relation to the existing portfolio of investments, tasks that CCHL undertakes include:
CCHL is accountable to the Council through a number of mechanisms, including:
Neither CCHL nor the Council plays any part in the management of the CCTOs and other companies – this is solely the prerogative of their respective boards and management, who are charged with running their businesses in a commercial manner, and on an arm’s length basis from CCHL and the Council.
Board and management
CCHL employs a small team of staff, comprising:
Accounting and admin services are contracted from Christchurch City Council, and specialist external advice is obtained as required.