T&G Global has sold its Kerikeri-based kiwifruit orchards, packhouse and assets to Seeka in a deal worth around $40 million.
Under the agreement, Seeka will purchase T&G's post-harvest facilities in Kerikeri for the packing and storing of avocados, kiwifruit and citrus.
T&G has also sold all its Zespri shares to Seeka, worth around $2m. Seeka's registered office is in Wellington, with the majority of its directors and shareholders in New Zealand. The largest single shareholder, with 11.975 per cent of the shares, is Sumifru Singapore Pte.
T&G is also selling around 80 hectares of orchards in and around Kerikeri to Seeka on which it grows the Hayward, ENZAGold and ENZARed kiwifruit as well as Zespri Sungold varieties. T&G will, however, remain the trademark owner of the kiwifruit brands. T&G will also have access to fruit grown by Seeka for its existing customer base here in New Zealand and overseas.
The completion date for the post-harvest sale is expected to be April 30 and June 30 for the orchard sale. Seeka will then rename T&G's Kerikeri facilities and operating business entities "Seeka Kerikeri".
All staff from T&G's post-harvest and kiwifruit orchard business areas will be retained by Seeka.
T&G's executive general manager, New Zealand, Andrew Keaney said the company is pleased to have secured a positive outcome for its kiwifruit growers and employees in Northland.
"Our staff and grower partners will benefit from being owned and operated by Seeka which has confirmed it will invest for the long term."
Seeka CEO Michael Franks said the company has identified the region as a growth area for both avocados and kiwifruit and establishing a post-harvest hub in Northland has been a priority.
"Seeka has an existing client base of kiwifruit and avocado growers in the area to service and we will continue to offer services and support to growers who have supplied fruit to T&G. The orchards purchased in the agreement secure additional fruit supply to make sure our operations are profitable," Franks said.
"With new avocado developments in the area, we are expecting demand for post-harvest facilities to increase. We also anticipate increasing demand for kiwifruit as growing conditions have proven very favourable, particularly for gold varieties and with Seeka providing a new competitive dynamic to the market focusing on quality, price and service."