Fay Richwhite

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Fay, Richwhite & Company is the investment vehicle of Switzerland-based New Zealand merchant bankers Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite.

The firm was the prime focus of the "Winebox Inquiry" which dealt with, among other things, tax-avoidance arrangements in the Cook Islands. The publicity surrounding the inquiry generated considerable public ill-feeling towards Fay and Richwhite, and was one of the principal reasons for their emigration to Geneva. Fay, Richwhite were investors in the Bank of New Zealand, which was sold to National Australia Bank in 1992.

Fay and Richwhite were also involved in a series of transactions between 1986 and 1993 involving their companies European Pacific Investments; Capital Markets; Fay, Richwhite; the Bank of New Zealand; Tranz Rail; and Telecom New Zealand, transactions in which they personally gained over half a billion dollars at the same time as their minority shareholders lost NZD$277 million.[1] Fay and Richwhite also made NZD$274 million from sales of Telecom New Zealand share options in September 1993 without having to put up any capital in advance.[1]

Both men relocated to Geneva in the late 1990s and Richwhite has since moved to London.

Tranz Rail[edit]

Main article: Tranz Rail

Fay and Richwhite were advisers to the New Zealand Government on New Zealand Rail Limited from 1990 to 1993 and then distanced themselves from the arrangement to sell the SOE. The Bolger National government privatised New Zealand Rail Limited in 1993. The company was sold for $328.3 million[2] to a consortium named Tranz Rail Limited, made up of merchant bankers Fay, Richwhite & Company (31.8% via the investment company Pacific Rail, later renamed Midavia Rail), the American railroad Wisconsin Central (27.3%), Berkshire Partners (27.3%), Alex van Heeren, the owner of Huka Lodge, 9.1% and Richwhite family interests, 4.5%. Tranz Rail borrowed $223.3, and its shareholders contributed $105 million to the acquisition price through the purchase of 105 million Tranz Rail shares at $1 each.[2]

In late 2004, the New Zealand Securities Commission launched an investigation into the company regarding alleged insider trading. In June 2007 David Richwhite, (along with his shell company Midavia Rail, formerly Pacific Rail) agreed to pay NZ$20 million, but did not admit liability for the claims.[3]

References[edit]