Guinness Peat Group, the investment company in wind-down mode, agreed to sell its minority stakes in four food companies to ASX-listed Mariner Corporation for some A$3.2 million.
Mariner today settled the second of four acquisitions with a 12 percent stake in egg supplier Farm Pride Foods. Earlier this week it took over a 20 percent in Peanut Company of Australia from GPG, and expects to complete acquisitions of a 20 percent stake in Tasmanian Pure Foods and a 13 percent stake in Capilano Honey in the next week.
GPG, which was formerly chaired by Ron Brierley, sold off six assets for some 34 million pounds through the latter half of last year, and more recently sold its stake in fruit marketer Turners & Growers. Its sole New Zealand asset is insurer Tower, which today said it’s mulling a capital return to shareholders.
This week, Mariner chief executive Darren Olney-Fraser told the Sydney Morning Herald his company wants to be the next GPG and is happy to take over the company’s food strategy.
Mariner was established in 2003, but divested its assets and cut costs in response to the global financial crisis. In November 2010, Stanfield Funds Management acquired a strategic stake in the company, leading to the appointment of a completely new board and management.
Marnier’s shares were unchanged at 20 Australian cents on the ASX, while GPG stock traded at 57 cents on the NZX.