Vbase Downsizes Following Earthquakes

New Zealand venue management company Vbase shed 45 full-time staff June 30 in the wake of the Feb. 22 earthquakes.

The company runs the earthquake-damaged Christchurch Town Hall and the Convention Centre, which will not reopen until 2014, and the AMI Stadium which will be closed until next year.

The 9,000-capacity CBS Canterbury Arena (formerly Westpac Arena) reopened in March. Before Feb. 22, Vbase ran 1,800 events a year.

The reorganization will leave it with 67 full-time equivalent staff (down from 218) with 54 full-time positions (99 previously).

The current Vbase board, chief executive Bryan Pearson and five senior managers, will also be exiting. Vbase faced financial problems before the quake, with the council considering an injection of NZ$45 million (US$37.3 million) to help service its $50 million debt.

The council has since taken over Vbase ownership.