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Thursday 21 October 2021

Ziwi goes with FountainVest

21st September 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

The shareholders of premium pet food company Ziwi have agreed a conditional sale to Chinese private equity firm FountainVest Partners.

Ziwi’s proposed $70m Napier factory. Image: Supplied

The manufacturer and exporter said the move “positions Ziwi well for the future and provides strong additional support for the company’s ambitious growth plans”.

No price was disclosed for the sale, but reports had said the deal valued the company at around $1.5bn.

Managing director and 9.09% shareholder Richard Lawrence said the agreement, which was subject to New Zealand government approval, was about delivering sustainable long-term growth, “and this can best be achieved with future access to capital and global market intelligence, which FountainVest Partners is able to provide”.

Ziwi MD Richard Lawrence

Auckland-headquartered Ziwi has factories in Christchurch and Tauranga, and was developing a replacement $70m facility in Napier, where it made air-dried and wet cat and dog food under the Ziwi Peak brand, as well as chews, treats and bones.

Annual sales were reported to be around $50m from both domestic and export sales.

Alongside Lawrence, there were three other shareholders comprising Christchurch family rich-lister Mark Stewart with 72.44%, founder Peter Mitchell on 6.35%, and Bay of Plenty-based director Nigel Woodd with 12.12%.

“It will be business as usual for ZIWI staff,” Lawrence said.

“This investment will build on the current team’s successful strategy and plan to meet strong global demand for Ziwi’s product range, with new jobs and exciting career opportunities to be created in New Zealand and internationally over the long term.

“The management team will continue to lead the business, with executive management reinvesting back into the business.”

Lawrence said Ziwi remained committed to New Zealand being the home of production, and forecasted increased demand and business expansion would mean an even greater use of New Zealand-sourced ingredients.

“This will lead to improved returns flowing through to Ziwi’s farming and seafood suppliers around the country, with a positive impact on the communities where they operate.”



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