The king of Polar Capital’s empire has sold off his personal stake in Jucy Rentals and is no longer a director – just two years after saving the budget campervan company from going under.

Colin Neal told BusinessDesk on Tuesday that he was still interested in the business but hadn’t wanted to spend long as a director at the budget campervan company because the “Australian guys” were taking over the business.

There was no particular reason, he said, things were just changing and he had decided to reduce some of his shareholdings.

“I'm still interested, but I'm not a director any longer.”

Minority stakeholder

The "Australians" are the Australian private equity firm, Next Capital, which picked up a majority stake in Jucy in August last year.

It took just nine months for Neal’s NZ private equity firm Polar Capital to switch from being a significant stakeholder to a minority one.

Polar picked up the significant stake in Jucy in November 2020, a move that saved 150 jobs. 

Neal is known for building a substantial empire through Polar Capital, which was mostly funded by his multimillion-dollar sale of Big Chill to Freightways several years ago. 

Jucy's chief executive, Dan Alpe, confirmed on Tuesday that Neal was no longer a Jucy director and had come off the Jucy board due to his reduced shareholding. 

Alpe said Neal’s shareholding had been sold to new shareholder Greenmount Capital, which was named as a new shareholder on the companies registry office the same day as Neal’s exit was announced.

"Otherwise, business as usual," Alpe said.

Greenmount Capital is the fund management arm of another Ngāi Tahu investment: GreenMount Advisory – a tax and corporate advisory firm founded by Ryan Davis (Ngāi Tahu – Ōraka Aparima) who was also GreenMount’s chair.

Greenmount had a 15.2% shareholding in Jucy, while Next Capital holds the biggest stake at 63.5%. Polar Capital now has a 7.5% stake and Ashfield Farm has a 13.1% holding.