Turners & Growers fancies Apollo Apples

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 13:52 07/02/2014

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Horticulture marketing and distribution company Turners & Growers has confirmed it is in talks over a potential acquisition of Hawke's Bay company Apollo Apples.

Turners & Growers today said discussions had been held with Apollo, but no commercial decisions had been made yet.

The statement to the NZX was in response to a horticulture industry publication speculating that an acquisition of Apollo Apples by Turners & Growers was imminent

Company secretary Doug Bygrave said was incorrect.

"Turners & Growers confirms that it is in such discussions, however, no agreement has been reached in respect of this matter," Bygrave said in the statement to the NZX.

"The discussions may not ultimately lead to a transaction and, if any agreement is entered into, it is expected to be conditional upon various matters.

"A further announcement will be made at the appropriate time."

Senior management at Apollo Apples were not available for comment on the possible takeover.

Turner & Growers, majority owned by German firm BayWa Aktiengesellschaft, announced it has a new growth strategy, which focuses on further international expansion outside its traditional strengths in pipfruit, kiwifruit and grapes.

However, the strategy would also refocus on the New Zealand market, particularly through hothouse and citrus fruit products.

Chief executive Alastair Hulbert said the company would continue its partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) through its "Better by Design" programme.

"Through the Better by Design programme we have gathered feedback and insights from growers, customers, consumers and employees on how they perceive the organisation, what Turners & Growers does well and most importantly identified areas for improvement," Hulbert said.

"It has been an extremely valuable process which has grounded us and helped ensure that we heading in the right direction."

Hulbert stepped up to the chief executive role halfway through 2013 after former chief executive Geoff Hipkins left in March amid rumours of a bust-up with senior management.

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