Zespri and T&G today signed a Memorandum of Understanding confirming their intention to work together to create value for their respective growers and shareholders.

Zespri chairman Peter McBride and T&G global chairman Professor Klaus Josef Lutz signed the MOU early this morning New Zealand time at the fruit industry trade show Fruit Logistica in Berlin.

In a statement, Professor Lutz said as two large New Zealand horticultural exporters with strong global brands, Zespri and T&G had committed to develop market opportunities together to grow export sales.

"This is a positive collaboration between two large New Zealand exporters," he said.

In the same statement, Mr McBride said both companies were major contributors to the New Zealand economy and offered premium branded products supported by innovative marketing.

"This MOU formalises our intentions to look for opportunities to use our respective strengths to grow sales," he said.

The two companies' first collaborative step was working together to sell around one million trays of Zespri Kiwifruit in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos in the 2016 season.

"This proactive collaborative marketing partnership will accelerate the growth in kiwifruit sales across a region with huge potential.

"T&G will develop sales programmes for Zespri Green, Zespri SunGold and T&G products in these four Southeast Asian countries, leveraging the strength of the Zespri brand and marketing strategy with T&G's existing business expertise, distribution channels and strong product offering," Mr McBride said.

Professor Lutz said T&G would open an office in Bangkok to represent and support the two companies' sales programmes. The new team would work together to grow sales of both Zespri and T&G branded products like JAZZTM and ENVYTM apples in the region, with a regional manager already appointed and key account managers appointments to follow.

This collaborative arrangement was the first of its kind to be approved by regulator Kiwifruit NZ.

Under the Kiwifruit Regulations, Zespri is the primary exporter of NZ-grown kiwifruit beyond Australia. However other exporters can apply to KNZ with proposals to export NZ-grown kiwifruit in collaboration with Zespri.

Mr McBride said the recent Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project consultation with growers heralded a change in direction for Zespri and collaborative marketing.

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"This has opened the way for Zespri to partner with companies which can offer strong coverage in new or developing regions for Zespri and increase returns to our growers."