Long-standing Hawke's Bay fruit processor ENZAFoods will soon have a new owner in a sale which ensures its continued production in Hastings and protection of more than 40 fulltime jobs.
The sale follows an announcement last week that owners T&G Global had entered into a conditional agreement with Japanese-owned but Gisborne-founded Cedenco Foods to assume control of the assets of ENZAFoods (trading as T&G Foods).
The agreement, which takes effect on April 20, means Cedenco will assume control of T&G Foods' processing business, employees and assets in Hastings, and fruit ingredient assets based in Nelson, at a time when the sites will be in full production manufacturing apple juice concentrates and sliced and diced apple products.
Cedenco will take over the long-term lease of the site in Tomoana Rd, Hastings, where processing began in earnest in 1974, under the banner of the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board, which had begun operations in the Nelson region in 1962.
Major factory expansion took place in Hastings about 1987, and a new line to produce apple sauce and diced apple pouches and similar products was opened in 2011.
Cedenco has also entered a long-term agreement to buy processing apples from T&G Pipfruit and will enter similar arrangements with other ENZA suppliers, said managing director Tim Chrisp.
"This acquisition and our recent joint venture investments into aquaculture and dairy ingredients extends our operations to five manufacturing sites in New Zealand and realises our ambition to be a significant supplier of original New Zealand food ingredients," he said.
"ENZA has a great team of people and great products and straddles key fruit and vegetable growing areas, and we are excited to have this opportunity to grow the business," he said.
T&G Global had signalled its intention to exit the processed foods business when it announced in October it was considering the sale of the assets.
Chief strategy officer Tim Clarkson said the company is delighted to be working with its new processing partners and to have secured a positive outcome for the employees.
"T&G Foods' people, products and production facilities will benefit from being owned and operated by Cedenco and NZ Apple Products Limited who are both focused on fruit processing and are willing to invest for the long term," he said.
"The New Zealand apple and pear industry needs good fruit processors and T&G is delighted to have such strong local partners to take the business forward."