Solving the puzzle for Z


“The solution of one problem,” said Martin Luther King, “brings us face to face with another problem.” Having decided to manufacture biodiesel and so be part of the climate change solution, Z Energy ran straight into another problem: where to build the plant.

Lcation, location - PFI provided Z Energy with the right property in the right location for their purpose-built biodiesel plant

Lcation, location – PFI provided Z Energy with the right property in the right location for their purpose-built biodiesel plant

Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions: Z reckon the annual environmental benefit of their new fuel will be the equivalent of removing almost 17,000 medium-sized diesel cars from the road. But making the stuff is a complex industrial process, which means it can’t be done just anywhere.

However, there was more to this property puzzle than zoning. The ideal location for the new plant was somewhere in industrial South Auckland, close to transport links – to streamline raw materials delivery – and close to the Wiri oil terminal for finished product distribution. The site itself would need to be large enough to accommodate the manufacturing plant, distillation tower and storage tanks, with ample room for vehicles. What’s more, Z didn’t want to own the property; they preferred to lease.

All of which explains why they partnered with Property for Industry Limited (PFI). PFI specialise in industrial property. They are, they say, “out the back, where the work gets done.” That means they know their way around those parts of Auckland (and New Zealand’s other cities) where you find manufacturing plants like the one Z wanted to build and – in particular – it means they understand industrial tenants.

“Industrial tenants are looking for three things,” says PFI General Manager, Simon Woodhams. “Location, obviously. Z had some specific requirements, such as being close to the oil terminal, but things like transport links are always critical, because every one of our partners is part of a supply chain. The right location saves them time and money.

“Next, they are looking for a property that enables their business process. For Z, that involves housing some complex technology, but all tenants need a building that’s the right height and the right size, with the right ratio of office space, with room for trucks to come and go. The right premises enable their businesses to operate at peak efficiency.

“Thirdly,” says Woodhams, “there’s the business relationship. “For Z, that meant being willing to go on their journey with them: they were building New Zealand’s first commercial-scale biodiesel production plant and so they had a host of other problems to solve. We brought our expertise to the table alongside their other business partners. By presenting and developing the right property and structuring a deal to meet their needs, short and long-term, we helped them achieve their goal.”

Z are now ready to start producing a more sustainable transport fuel for their customers looking to do their bit for a lower carbon future when they fill up. And PFI has played its part in solving that puzzle by helping Z find the right property, in the right location, on the right terms. As Simon Woodhams puts it, “Having PFI on the team frees up capital, adds value to your operations and allows you to focus on the problems only you can solve. PFI puts industrial property to work.”