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Thursday 30 June 2022

Seeka shareholders back $60m OPAC takeover

20th April 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

Seeka has taken a crucial step closer to its $60m takeover of Opotiki Packing and Coolstorage after receiving overwhelming shareholder support for the deal.

The listed kiwifruit grower said 99.94% of its shareholders who voted backed the deal – well above the 50% support needed.

The takeover would create New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit grower and second-largest post-harvest operator with annual revenue of £300m.

Seeka chair, Fred Hutchings, said that the high level of support from the Seeka shareholders ”mirrored the support from the OPAC shareholders and reflected strong confidence in the transaction, the company, and the future.”

Two hurdles remained before the takeover transaction would proceed on 4 May.

The first of these would be confirming OPAC grower support for the deal. Seeka had asked that major growers, who in 2021 would supply circa 75,000 trays to OPAC, and other growers back the deal and commit to supplying in the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

It required commitments that at least 80% of total 2021 estimated kiwifruit volumes by tray would be forthcoming for 2022 and 2023 as “without such commitments the acquisition may not proceed”.

The second remaining hurdle, according to Seeka, was achieving banking thresholds, although no details were given what these comprised.

The integration process would start from 4 May once the remaining hurdles were cleared.

At the end of last month, Seeka announced it had tabled a $59m bid for its East Cape-based rival in a deal that would see the combined business handle around 25% of New Zealand’s kiwifruit crop, and offer a comprehensive service to Zespri across the North Island’s main growing regions.

The boards of both companies recommended the deal proceed, which Seeka said would deliver savings of up to $3m a year and increase earnings per share. 



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