Norway's Tomra Systems has agreed to buy local fruit sorting company Compac Holdings for $70 million, subject to regulatory approval.

The deal would see Tomra take 100 per cent of the Compac company's shares, adding the Auckland-based packhouse automation systems maker to its global operations, it said this afternoon.

The deal is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

"Market forces have driven double-digit growth at Compac over recent years, and we have rapidly become a global business from humble New Zealand roots," Compac chief executive Mike Riley said.


"Joining forces with Tomra will enable us to continue to meet the increasing demands for our products and services in a more scalable and operationally efficient manner."

Compac's biggest shareholder is founder Hamish Kennedy whose interests own about three-quarters of the company.

The New Zealand company's leadership will stay in place in the new structure, operating as a standalone entity.

In a nod to Compac's Callaghan Innovation growth grants, Tomra said it will continue to invest in the New Zealand company's research and development activities as the Norwegian group's "centre of excellence for lane sorting" worldwide.