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Rangatira Investments takes 50% stake in Mrs Higgins for undisclosed sum

Tuesday 12th December 2017

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Rangatira Investments has taken a 50 percent stake in specialist cookie retailer Mrs Higgins, and will help bankroll a new manufacturing plant due to open in February as well as further expansion. 

"Rangatira has a history of investing in family-owned businesses that are looking for another growth spurt, so it was quite a good fit for us," chair David Pilkington told BusinessDesk. He declined to say how much it had paid for the stake.

Mrs Higgins chief executive Markus Hasler also declined to say how much they had sold the stake for but said the offer from Rangatira had "looked quite attractive" as they would be able to "pump quite a lot of money into the business and that would help us expand a lot faster." 

Pilkington said the existing owners, Markus and Bronwyn Hasler - who will retain the other 50 percent - had "a good base business and plans for growth." They were in the process of expanding into a new factory and were looking to raise capital, he said.

"It was an ideal opportunity for someone like Rangatira who can provide that capital and help the Hasler's execute what seems to be a pretty sound business strategy," he said. 

The plant, located in West Auckland, will allow Mrs Higgins to meet demand for existing products within New Zealand, diversify its product range and expand into Australian and Asian markets. As well as cookies, Mrs Higgins makes slices, slabs, brownies and ready to bake cookie dough, Bliss bites and Christmas treats, among other bakery products. 

The company has seven franchise stores and two licensed stores in New Zealand that represent about 10 percent of the total business, said Hasler. It supplies service stations and supermarkets, among other venues and has 90 plus percent share in the vending machine market. It currently exports to Shanghai and Australia and is looking to beef up sales into both those markets as well as enter other Asian markets, said Hasler.  

"Our new plant is export-geared. We have all the right certifications," he said.  

Rangatira Investments has $230 million of assets under management, most of which is allocated to investments in mid-market New Zealand businesses. Of its shareholders, 66 percent are charitable organisations. Its portfolio includes Hellers, Polynesian Spa and Rainbow's End. 


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