Seeka Limited today announced that is has agreed to purchase kiwifruit orcharding, packing and coolstore business and assets of Aongatete Coolstores Limited in the Bay of Plenty for $25m.
Seeka Chief Executive, Michael Franks said the acquisition was aligned to the company's growth strategy and builds on Seeka's kiwifruit foundation. "Aongatete's kiwifruit packhouse and coolstore facility processes around 4.5m trays of green and gold fruit, providing Seeka additional market presence in a growth industry. The acquisition compliments our existing business with further infrastructure in a great growing location."
In addition to increasing Seeka's catchment, the purchase is expected to increase business performance and deliver sustainable EBITDA of between $3.5m and $4.5m.
Aongatete is an integrated kiwifruit orcharding and post-harvest company operating across the Bay of Plenty. The assets acquired are of excellent quality and the people and operation are renowned for their excellent performance for growers, grower focus and furthering technology.
Seeka plans to retain all permanent staff and will continue to provide services and support to growers who have been supplying fruit to Aongatete. Michael Franks adds, "The facilities and team have a considerable reputation for efficiency and innovation. This season's harvest is underway with orchards already being picked and it will continue to operate under the existing experienced team. Our focus will be to deliver support to the team as they need it."
Allan Dawson, Managing Director at Aongatete said growers’ futures stand in good stead with Seeka, “Seeka brings its own skills and economies of scale and recognises the Aongatete site will remain a centre of excellence and innovation for the kiwifruit industry.”
Seeka is committed to the local area and sees benefits for both existing and new staff and grower partners. Michael Franks said, "Seeka's significant size and scope brings increased capacity and ability to support the Aongatete site during peak harvest times. With Seeka's geographical spread throughout the Bay of Plenty transport distances can be reduced with fruit processed closer to where it is grown."
Another benefit is Seeka’s Grower Shares Scheme and Employee Share Scheme will be offered to new associates. The Scheme is an opportunity for growers and staff to benefit from being part of Seeka and share in returns generated by the business. The purchase is anticipated to settle on 18 March 2019 and the facilities will be rebranded as Seeka Aongatete.