Fonterra has sold Tip Top to global dairy giant Froneri for $380 million.

Froneri is a joint venture between PAI Partners and Nestle and is the second largest manufacturer of ice cream company in Europe.

The sale of Tip Top for $380 million represents a gain of around $100 million above book value, Fonterra said in a statement. The agreed settlement date is 31 May 2019.

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Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell confirmed the sale, saying it was a bittersweet moment for the New Zealand dairy giant.

"Since we took ownership of Tip Top in 2001, a lot of work has gone into ensuring it remained New Zealand's leading ice cream company. Over that time, we've had strong support from New Zealanders, and I want to recognise and thank them for that.

"Tip Top has always listened to consumers and cared about their changing tastes, as well as their long-time favourites. An average of 340 serves of Tip Top are enjoyed every minute of every day.

"This came through in both the number and quality of bids we received. It's a fantastic brand and as a result, we've secured a good price for our farmers and unitholders."

Froneri CEO Ibrahim Najafi says the Tip Top name and its operations, including the Auckland based factory site at Mount Wellington will be maintained.

The sale is part of Fonterra's review of its investment portfolio as it targets reducing debt by $800m.

Last year Tip Top generated $18-22 million in earnings before interest and tax on annual sales of about $150m.


Fonterra said that while Tip Top had been performing well, it had reached maturity as an investment for the co-operative.

Tip Top has had several different owners over the years, after starting off as an ice-cream parlour in Wellington in 1936.

By 1962, its Mt Wellington plant had become the Southern Hemisphere's biggest ice-cream factory.

Two years later, Tip Top had expanded and a parent company - General Foods - was formed.

The company went to Goodman Fielder in 1987, Heinz in 1992, West Australia's Peters and Brownes in 1997, Kiwi Dairy Co in 2000, and to Fonterra in 2001.