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T&G spends $25.8 million on two tomato growers

Wednesday 10th December 2014

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Turners & Growers, the fruit marketer majority owned by Germany's BayWa, bought two New Zealand tomato farms for $25.8 million to bolster its supply.

The Auckland based company spent $17.3 million for Bay of Plenty grower Great Lake Tomatoes and $8.5 million for Waikato tomato grower Rianto, which together will add 4,600 tonnes of tomatoes to T&G's annual production, it said in a statement. The exporter is looking to secure fruit supply to meet global demand and in April agreed to buy Hawke's Bay Apollo Apples for as much as $44.1 million while in September it entered into a joint venture with Unifrutti Chile to grow and export Peruvian grapes.

"Not only does it fit with T&G’s strategic direction but it is a great opportunity to provide T&G’s customers with a greater surety of supply, through this geographical spread of production facilities and to better service T&G’s customers’ needs," said Anthony Stone, T&G covered crops manager. “Our T&G covered crops business supplies mainly to Australasia but with Great Lake and Rianto on board we can look to improve capability to develop both our domestic and export markets."

Rianto had previously been largely an exclusive supplier to T&G prior to the purchase, owner Frank van Rijen said. Both Rijen and Ton Zwetsloot, managing director and major shareholder in Great Lake, have committed to staying on with the tomato businesses under the new ownership. 

In August, T&G said first half profit fell 39 percent to $10.2 million in the six months ended June 30, in part because its international produce division suffered supply shortages through the period.

The tomato purchases are subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Act, with T&G expecting to complete the acquisitions by mid next year.

Shares of T&G last traded at $1.90 and have gained 8.6 percent since the start of the year.


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