A holding company majority owned by one of New Zealand's richest families has sold the arm of its business which has the New Zealand Caterpillar dealership to a Malaysian conglomerate for $211 million.

Gough Holdings whose major shareholders are members of the Gough family have sold Gough Group to Sime Darby Berhad - a multinational company listed on the Malaysian stock exchange.

Gough Group has operated the New Zealand Caterpillar dealership for more than 90 years and also owns interests in the transport and material handling business in New Zealand and Australia.

Gough Group employs 950 people across New Zealand and Australia.

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Sime Darby Berhad's group chief executive officer Dato' Jeffri Salim Davidson said the purchase would allow it to enhance its relationship with Caterpillar and gain exposure to the construction and forestry sectors in New Zealand.

"The Gough Group's transport and material handling portfolio will complement Sime Darby Motors' commercial truck business in New Zealand, enable growth in aftersales operations and broaden our suite of franchises, essentially strengthening our position in Australasia,"

Gough Group's revenue$540 million in 2018 - an increase of more than 18 per cent on the prior year.

Davidson said it would be investing in the next stage of growth to build on Gough Group's leadership position in Australasia.

Sime Darby Berhad already has business interests in New Zealand through its subsidiary Sime Darby Motors which operates under the Continental Cars and City Nissan dealerships in Auckland.

The deal will be funded by bank borrowings and is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

It is expected to be completed by 30 September 2019.