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Prominent family buys into Thode

By Dana Johannsen

Friday 4th July 2003

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Father and son businessmen Hylton and Richard LeGrice have expanded their family interests after buying forestry industry supplier Thode Knife & Saw.

Richard LeGrice will become the managing director of Thode while his father, prominent surgeon and former Southern Cross chairman Hylton LeGrice, will be a member of the board.

The company mainly supplies products to the forestry industry, providing machinery for the smaller saw doctor through to the largest saw mill.

Thode also services the printing and tanning industry and on a smaller scale supplies to businesses such as cabinet-makers.

The company has an annual turnover of about $13 million and employs over 100 staff.

Richard LeGrice said he chose to invest in the business because it was in a stable industry and had been well run and managed over the years.

"Thode is well known as the leading knife and saw industry in New Zealand and is a highly respected organisation," he said.

Mr LeGrice said he had a particular interest in industrial servicing business and wanted to continue to be involved with businesses that supported New Zealand industry.

He would like to continue to build the company and has no plans to change the name.

The company has three branches in New Zealand in Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch from where it services its 3000-plus customers across the country.

Thode was expanding in Australia and would continue to do so, Mr LeGrice said.

"There will naturally be some changes as a result of exciting new technology within our industry but our core competencies and historic values will remain," he said.

After 36 years with the company, founder Bill Thode decided it was time to sell the business and is confident that the new owners will be positive for the company.

"When I finally decided to sell, I knew it had to be to someone who would look after everything I had created and someone who had the attributes Thode would require in the future," Mr Thode said. He is retiring.

Mr Thode said it was an added bonus that Thode will continue as a family organisation.

Richard LeGrice's understanding of manufacturing business practices comes from his experience as the majority shareholder and managing director of family owned Packaging Prepress Specialists. He will continue in this role along with his position at Thode.

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