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Rangatira emerges as biggest investor in Tuatara after investment of about $5 mln

Friday 28th June 2013

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Rangatira has emerged as the biggest shareholder in Tuatara Brewing after the Wellington-based investment company bought new and existing shares to build a 35 percent stake in the boutique brewer.

Rangatira is understood to have invested about $5 million in Tuatara, whose current range of 10 beers include a Pilsner, APA and London Porter. That would value the Wellington-based brewer at about $14.3 million.

Updated records at the Companies Office show Vasta Brewing, owned by Tuatara founder Carl Vasta, sold 34,595 shares, reducing its holding to 29.5 percent from 45 percent. Co-founder Sean Murrie’s The Malthouse Ltd., which runs a bar on Wellington’s Courtenay Place, reduced its holding to 24.7 percent from 38 percent. The six smaller existing investors all sold down the stakes.

Crafts beers account for only about 5 percent of all beer produced in New Zealand and Rangatira chief executive Ian Frame has said there good growth prospects for companies such as Tuatara, given that in the US, craft beers make up 15 percent of the market.

Last November, Moa Group raised $16 million in an initial public offering at $1.25 apiece to fund a new brewing facility and drive sales growth. Moa shares last traded at $1.15, valuing that company at $34 million.

The increasing popularity of craft beers has also spurred large brewers to enter the market. Last year Lion, owned by Japan’s Kirin, bought Dunedin’s Emerson’s for $8 million and the Asahi-owned Independent Liquor operates the Boundary Road Brewery.

Tuatara produces 1 million litres of beer a year, which it says ranks it among New Zealand’s top three craft breweries. It exports beer to Australia, Singapore, China, the US and Europe. Its new Paraparaumu brewery has the capacity to produce at least 2 million litres a year with further potential to double production to around four million litres, the company says.

Rangatira shares trade infrequently on the Unlisted platform. The 11.5 million B shares, which are mainly held by charities and have limited voting rights, were last at $7.50, while the 6.2 million A shares were last at $7.

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