David is the business writer for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post.

BOP's Seeka announces major rebrand

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SEEKA CEO Michael Franks CEO. Photo/file
SEEKA CEO Michael Franks CEO. Photo/file

Seeka - Australasia's largest kiwifruit grower - has announced a name change and rebrand which it says reflect its evolution into a leading premium produce company.

Te Puke-headquartered Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Limited has been rebranded "Seeka", with the new company name Seeka Limited, effective 28 October. The company will retain its NZX ticker code of SEK.

"Kiwifruit remains our foundation, but the company has matured to the point where it is now time for us to reset the brand strategically for our next growth platform," said Seeka chief executive Michael Franks.

The new brand was presented to internal staff on Thursday and announced at Seeka's annual stakeholders meeting yesterdayafternoon in Tauranga.

"We have a greatly diversified range of products, processing and marketing activities across New Zealand, Australia and internationally," he said.

"The old brand didn't reflect Seeka's performance, activity and energy, or where we aspire to be.

It was time for us to overhaul and future-proof the way we present Seeka for our growers, shareholders, customers and other stakeholders. Today we send more produce to key markets around the world than ever before."

Seeka has been in business for almost three decades. In addition to growing, processing and marketing kiwifruit, avocados and kiwiberries, Seeka also imports, ripens and distributes bananas and tropical fruits from the Philippines and South America in New Zealand, and holds the New Zealand agency for Sumifru.

Last year it acquired leading Australian kiwifruit company Bunbartha Fruit Packers Pty for $25 million and set up Seeka Australia. In addition to having an estimated 80 per cent of Australian kiwifruit production, the Australian arm of the company is also a major grower of Nashi pears, as well as plums, apricots and cherries.

Seeka also recently acquired the Kiwi Crush and Kiwi Crushies nutraceutical product ranges and will move into a new, purpose-built head office in Te Puke early next year.

The reality was Seeka now did a lot more than simply grow kiwifruit and wrap cardboard around it for export, said Mr Franks. "We're proud of our heritage. Seeka is a powerful, unique name and we want to focus on extending its value."

Mr Franks noted that Seeka had handled a company record 32.3 million trays of kiwifruit in the past season, up 17 per cent, as well as reporting sector-leading returns for its avocado growers for the third year running. Seeka also had a strong and profitable first six months to June 2016 from its Australian operations, handling 0.6 million trays of kiwifruit, 1432 tonnes of Nashi pears and 1791 tonnes of European pears, he said.

Chairman Fred Hutchings said Seeka had delivered exceptional performance for its growers and stakeholders.

"The rebrand will underpin Seeka's strategy of growing our size and profitability. We will continue to vertically integrate, build on our core competencies and values, and look to make further value accretive investments."

Seeka general manager growers and marketing Annmarie Lee said the new brand included a new tagline - "Selecting excellence" - and a refreshed logo incorporating a star bursting with life, inspired by the company's core fruit products.

The logo retains the Seeka font and colours, allowing the company to leverage off the existing value created by the company's SeekaFresh in-market branding. The company has also used the rebranding process to refocus on its core brand attributes, she said.

These include the importance of relationships, an "obsession" with quality, working sustainably with the land to deliver value to stakeholders, inspiring and motivating its staff, and an emphasis on ensuring safety.

"The rebrand and new core values reflect what we believe are important to our stakeholders," said Ms Lee. "It will ensure we have a professional and consistent brand presence on the orchard, in the packhouse, and in the market."

Seeka has begun rolling out all new corporate livery, site signage, billboards, staff clothing, packaging and stationery.

Seeka 2016 forecast - 12 months ending 31 December
• Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) forecast range for 2016 - $7 million-to-$8 million
• NPAT for 2015 - $4.3 million
• NPAT 2014 - $3.2 million

- Bay of Plenty Times

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