A SEA Holdings subsidiary is to acquire NZ$290.8 million (about HK$1.2 billion) worth of New Zealand properties from its joint venture partner to increase its capital base. Both SEA Holdings and New Zealand-listed company Brierley Investments Ltd (BIL) aim to expand SEA (Cooks Islands) into a major investment vehicle for property and other investments in Hongkong and China. SEA presently holds 70 per cent of the venture, with BIL holding the remaining 30 per cent. The 63 properties to be injected into SEA (Cook Islands) are in New Zealand, rather than in Hongkong and China. SEA Holdings managing director Jesse Lu Wing-chi said yesterday most of the properties acquired would be sold to boost cash flow for property development in Hongkong and China. ''We want to introduce Brierley into Asia, and we believe the New Zealand property market is now at its bottom level,'' he said. BIL said in a statement issued yesterday: ''It is proposed that the joint venture acquire from BIL a portfolio of 63 New Zealand properties for a consideration of $290.8 million.'' SEA (Cooks Islands) was formed in July 1991 to acquire the China Underwriters Centre in Hongkong and Telecom House in Wellington. BIL said the asset injection would be satisfied by a mixture of cash, SEA shares, equity in and loans to the joint venture. BIL will receive $126 million in cash and $50 million worth of SEA Holdings' shares. As a result of the share issue, BIL will own 9.6 per cent of SEA's enlarged share capital. The SEA shares are priced at $4 each, representing a 61.6 per cent premium to the stock's close on Wednesday. SEA Holdings was suspended from trading yesterday. BIL will also take additional shares in SEA (Cook Islands) totalling $57.7 million, lifting its equity in the expanded joint venture to 40 per cent from 30 per cent. In turn, SEA Holdings' interest in the joint venture will be trimmed from 70 per cent to 60 per cent. BIL will also provide $57.1 million in loans to the venture, which will be repayable from proceeds of property sales in the next three years. BIL said: ''BIL will provide a rental guarantee to the joint venture for three years at a level equal to the 1993 rent roll. ''The management of the New Zealand property assets will be contracted to Brierley Properties for an initial period of three years.'' On completion of the deal, the joint venture will have shareholders' funds in excess of $240 million. ''This partnership with the Lu family [who control SEA Holdings], through SEA, will build on the extensive relationships and involvements the family has in the region and will provide an ideal combination with the analytical and transactional expertise of BIL,'' the company statement said. An analyst with New Zealand brokerage Ord Minnett said the deal appeared good for Brierley because of the cash it would receive, its additional holdings in SEA and the move to shift several hard-to-sell properties into the deal. BIL said: ''Initial returns have been excellent, with shareholders' funds, based on current valuations, rising 87 per cent from $73 million to $137 million.''