Long Haul

"We never set out to be property investors,” says Jim Ramsay, Managing Director of TIL. “But when you’ve got trucks you need yards and when you’re moving goods you need storage. It was only when we were restructuring the business, that we realised what a large business managing our premises had become.”

TIL goes back a long way. Back to 1869, when young John Hooker started working as a ‘bullocky’, carting the stone being used to build New Plymouth. Today, Hooker Pacific is just one of the transport, logistics and distribution companies that make up the Transport Investments Limited Group. In total, over 1,700 dedicated employees and contractors, over 900 trucks and 1,100 trailers, 310 forklifts and 170 light vehicles. More than 60 locations. Around 150,000 sqm of storage space. Prior to the listing in late-2017, it was the largest private company in the sector.

“It was time for a transition,” says Jim Ramsay. “My partners and I would go on running this business forever if we could, but we have to set it up to go forward; so we’ve established an independent Board and we have listed on the sharemarket. We want to see it continue to grow and we want the opportunity for staff to participate in the ownership.

“When we were talking about a sale and lease arrangement for all these properties, I said we’ve got to have a proper landlord; someone who’ll do things right for our people, forever. PFI is a listed company, with the size and reputation, able to put something together on a structured, commercial basis. Dealing with them, I found them to be thoroughly professional. I expect this to be an ongoing relationship: as we grow, we’ll go to PFI and say ‘we need some new premises for this particular business: what have you got, or what can you organise?’ It’s not a one-off transaction: it’ll be a long-term partnership.”

Other case studies: