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NZ: Turners & Growers to buy tomato firms for $26m

New Zealand's biggest fresh-produce company, Turners & Growers, is set to grow even larger following the acquisition of two tomato-growing businesses for a combined price of nearly $26 million.

But because T&G is largely German-owned (72.5 per cent), the purchase of Great Lake Tomatoes in the Bay of Plenty and Rianto in Waikato is subject to consent from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

T&G chief executive Alastair Hulbert said covered crops such as tomatoes had been singled out as a growth opportunity. "These acquisitions enable us to look at further sales opportunities in New Zealand and also our international markets."

The largest of the acquisitions is for Great Lake Tomatoes, based in Reporoa, Bay of Plenty, which has a 4.9 hectare glasshouse producing about 3000 tonnes of tomatoes annually. The total land being bought is 74.4 hectares, for a total price of $17.3m.

Great Lake managing director Ton Zwetsloot said the purchase was good news.

The other purchase is of Rianto, a family owned tomato grower in Ohaupo, which operates a 3.13ha glasshouse producing about 1600 tonnes of tomatoes annually.

The assets being acquired include a residential property and nearly 19ha of land, including the glasshouse. The total purchase price is about $8.5m.

Rianto managing director Frank van Rijen has been working with T&G for many years, using its packing and marketing.

An OIO decision on the deals is expected in mid-2015.


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