A company that began on a farm in Ohaupo 20 years ago is now planning to establish a $14 million centre of excellence in research and development in the Waikato to support its rapid growth.

BBC Technologies is the global leader in the development of turnkey lines, including sorting and packing machines, for small fruits such as blueberries and cherries.

Interior plan for BBC Technologies' new research and development and manufacturing facility.
Interior plan for BBC Technologies' new research and development and manufacturing facility.

With 99 per cent of its revenue coming from exports through 39 countries and a 60 per cent global market share, the company attracted the attention of Norwegian TOMRA Food, which acquired BBC Technologies in 2018.

With continued growth and outstanding performance, BBC Technologies has outgrown its current premises on Ingram Rd at Hamilton Airport and is planning to expand its operation to a larger site nearby.

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BBC Technologies chief executive Geoff Furniss.
BBC Technologies chief executive Geoff Furniss.

BBC Technologies chief executive Geoff Furniss said the plan for the new site would feature a 2500sq m research and development facility and 3000sq m manufacturing centre.

"We continue to evolve our technology to provide our customers with innovative solutions that are customer-focused," Geoff said.

"This includes artificial intelligence which has been very successful for us.

"TOMRA Food's investment tells me that they are committed to the Waikato and recognises our world-class talent right here in our region."

BBC Technologies employs 40 people in the technology side of the business. With the new centre of excellence that will increase to 100.

But it's not just the R&D side of the business that will expand with the move to the new site.

"We expect our team to grow from 175 staff to 300 over the next five years," Geoff said.

And with that, he also expects the company's annual revenue to continue growing.

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This year it's likely to be around $52m, which represents about 10 per cent growth over the past year — even with Covid-19 throwing a spanner in the works.

"We're really excited about this plan and TOMRA Food's ongoing commitment to investing in our region enabling growth and prosperity.

"We think it will be a huge economic boost for the Waikato."

Impression of BBC Technologies' new research and development and manufacturing facility.
Impression of BBC Technologies' new research and development and manufacturing facility.

Key information

• 12-18-month construction process and associated job creation.

• $14m project budget.

• Increase in direct green tech employment with up to 125 more jobs in the next 3-5 years.

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• Significant contribution to local tech ecosystem.

• BBC Technologies exports to 39 countries and has a 60 per cent share of the global market.

• BBC's Berry Science Programme is ongoing and through years of research has compiled the most extensive collection of berry samples and data in the world. It provides information about berry maturities, growing conditions, seasons and weather conditions to growers around the world.