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Saturday 25 June 2022

KKR acquires Natural Pet Food Group

4th May 2021 By Paul Yandall | | @foodtickernz

US investment firm KKR has purchased Christchurch-based Natural Pet Food Group, with majority owner Pioneer Capital exiting the business.

Natural Pet Food produces brands K9 Natural, Feline Natural, and Meat Mates. Image: NPFG

KKR announced the completion of the deal on Monday and said it would fund the investment from its KKR Asian Fund IV, although it did not disclose the purchase price.

The New York-based investor said it wanted to support Natural Pet Food’s international growth and its ambitions to “supply safe, sustainably sourced high-meat pet food”.

Natural Pet Food produces dog and cat food brands K9 Natural, Feline Natural, and Meat Mates, made from what the company said was grass-fed and free-range meat, cage-free chicken, and sustainable seafood.

Michael Robson, managing director of KKR’s portfolio operations division, KKR Capstone, said the investor could help “strengthen Natural Pet Food Group’s leadership in key markets and create opportunities in new ones”.

“Natural Pet Food Group is a pioneer in New Zealand’s sustainable pet food industry, with a strongly defined mission and set of values,” he said.

“This investment also reflects KKR’s commitment to supporting fast-growing companies in New Zealand that are seeking opportunities to expand into new sectors, verticals, and markets.”

Neil Hinton, chief executive of Natural Pet Food Group, said KKR’s investment was an  endorsement of the business. The company launched in 2006 and today served customers in New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, US and Canada.

Neil Hinton

“Our business is about providing pet owners with the very best in natural, high-meat nutrition for the four-legged members of their families,” Hinton said. 

“KKR has an impeccable pedigree in our sector which will help us grow, develop new products and take our brands to new customers and new markets, all over the world.”

Hinton said the deal was also a “great result” for its supply partners, farmers and seafood suppliers across New Zealand, as well as its manufacturing partners in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.

The company’s shareholders including Auckland-based Pioneer Capital, which held 76.68% of the firm, have all been substituted by KKR’s New Zealand-registered Gold Nature IV vehicle, controlled by the investor’s Asian business.

“We also recognize our outgoing shareholders, in particular Pioneer Capital, for their contribution over the years, which laid the foundation for this next exciting phase,” Hinton said.

“This is another fantastic ‘paddock to plate’ New Zealand story that builds on our quality nutrition, safety and ethical credentials and the strong partnerships that underpin our business.” 



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