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Aussie mob dive into new Wanaka venture

NZN 20/06/2016 Paul McBeth

ASX-listed Skydive the Beach Group, which operates Skydive NZone in Queenstown, will expand its footprint in New Zealand with the $10.4 million purchase of Skydive Wanaka.

The Woolongong-based company raised $A15 million ($NZ15.74 million) in a placement to sophisticated and institutional investors to fund the deal, buying the Wanaka operation, a new aircraft, and three luxury coaches to ferry customers between Queenstown and Wanaka, it said in a statement.

The Wanaka operation adds 45 staff, an aircraft and long-term airfield and hanger leases to Skydive the Beach's New Zealand business.

"Wanaka will not only enhance Skydive's portfolio of assets and drop zones, it will also deliver a specific strategic advantage and many cost savings and synergies of scale because it is close to Skydive's NZone operations in Queenstown," the company said. "Skydive is acquiring an additional high capacity aircraft and three luxury coaches to transport Queenstown tandem jumpers to Wanaka so that these jumps can be completed and not cancelled on poor weather days, and vice-versa where required."

Skydive the Beach bought NZone last year for $17m to tap into New Zealand's booming tourism sector. The Queenstown operation was founded in 1990, and has since grown to 65 staff, taking more than 300,000 people on tandem skydives in the process.

The Wanaka business has been operating since 1995 and has completed more than 100,000 jumps.

The transaction will likely be completed on July 1 and is conditional on due diligence.

The placement funding the deal was at a 13 per cent discount to the last trading price, at 42 Australian cents per share.

Of the A$15m raised last Friday, A$9.7m will cover the Wanaka acquisition, A$2.4m for a new aircraft, A$1.1m for the coaches, and A$1.8m to cover the cost of the placement, due diligence, and working capital.

The ASX-listed shares last traded at 48 Australian cents and have gained 33 per cent so far this year.

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