Matt Nippert is a business investigations journalist.

Hansells stakes slashed by half

Hansells Food Group. Photo / Lynda Feringa
Hansells Food Group. Photo / Lynda Feringa

The takeover of venerable Kiwi food manufacturer Hansells Food Group by Thai rice baron Varapong Supachok kept banks from the door but also saw the stakes of minority shareholders slashed by almost half.

The Herald reported in December Hansells, with turnover of nearly $150 million, had run into financial trouble, with the company's banker ANZ threatening mid-year to tip the company into receivership.

The bank was placated after Supachok, a major supplier of the company, introduced capital to pay off $31.8m owed to ANZ.

Supachok, whose Thai businesses make the Alfa brand of rice bran oil, has since moved to reside in New Zealand.

Companies office documents for the mid-year capital restructuring have only just been filed. Shares in the company were nearly doubled, with the new issue taking Supachok's holdings from 40.7 per cent to 69.6 per cent.

The issue heavily diluted other shareholders, who saw their stakes reduce by nearly half.

Present managing director Ross MacKenzie's 43.5 per cent stake shrank to 21.8 per cent.

Hansells, founded in Masterton in 1934 by a chemist called Hansen and an entrepreneur called Maunsell, became famous for its range of pre-mixed and pre-prepared goods, including Jungle Juice and Vitafresh.

Documents obtained by the Herald show the company - which employs 350 people in New Zealand - had recorded losses of $7.5 million in 2014 widening to $8.6 million this year.

MacKenzie expressed optimism 2016 would see a turnaround in financial results.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 25 Sep 2016 09:58:55 Processing Time: 476ms