10 June 2011
Christchurch City Council and Vbase Ltd today confirmed the Vbase business will now be governed and managed by Council.
The decision is a result of Vbase’s deteriorating financial position due to factors outside of the company’s control. Vbase has been impacted by changes to the tax law around the eligibility of depreciation on buildings and also by the February earthquake with three of its four venues closed. Today’s decision by Council was based on achieving the most cost effective outcome.
Vbase Ltd owns and commercially manages the Christchurch Convention Centre, Christchurch Town Hall for Performing Arts, AMI Stadium and CBS Canterbury Arena for community benefit – economically, socially and culturally.
Mayor Bob Parker today thanked the Vbase board and management for their professional approach, saying that the rebuild of Christchurch post 22 February 2011 will be complex and challenging. Council is leading the urban redesign of the central city and rebuild of critical public infrastructure.
“It will take time to rebuild the venues and the associated business and to bring visitors and events back to the city. While the Vbase business, people and achievements are highly valued, Council has decided to take the governance and management of Vbase ‘in house’ during the venue rebuild and business recovery phase.”
Along with the Vbase Board of Directors, Chief Executive Bryan Pearson is committed to leading and expediting a smooth transition to Council governance and management of the business. Mr Parker says he hopes that many of the key Vbase staff will continue to work in the new structure.
Bryan Pearson says he is personally and professionally very committed and focussed on ensuring a smooth process for all stakeholders. “My focus as Chief Executive will be on completing the downsizing and restructuring of the business and transitioning key partner and stakeholder relationships to Council over the coming weeks.”
Vbase Board of Directors and senior management have been working on a new business plan which included a restructure/down sizing proposal and a lower operating cost model. This will now be implemented.
Vbase has been briefing staff throughout the review process given the potential impact on them and their positions with the company. A formal proposal for down sizing the company will be presented to staff on Monday 13 June and will be implemented by latest end June following a period of consultation. Until the proposal is finalised neither Council nor Vbase will make any further comment.
Vbase has continued working closely with experts to determine the true extent of the venue damage, repair and/or rebuild options and likely timeframes.
Latest information indicates AMI Stadium may now need to re-open in stages through 2012. There is continuing uncertainty about the future of the Christchurch Town Hall for Performing Arts and the Christchurch Convention Centre. Assessments are continuing however it is now anticipated both will remain closed until at least end of 2013. Bryan Pearson says “the ongoing discovery of the extent of damage and the challenges associated with repair are making the job harder by the day”.
Vbase Board of Directors acknowledges the outstanding efforts and achievements of the Vbase management and the whole of the Vbase team in building a great business over the last five years. The Council unanimously voted to thank the staff and board of Vbase for their excellent contribution to the city.