Griffin's sold for big bikkies

MICHAEL FOREMAN
Last updated 15:11 21/07/2014
Gingernuts

OLD FAVOURITES: Kiwis eat no less than 203 Gingernuts every minute.

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Kiwi biscuit-maker Griffin's has been sold to Philippines-based food giant Universal Robina Corporation for $700 million.

The sale by Griffin's current owner, Australia-based Pacific Equity Partners (PEP), is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

Griffin's, which employs 800 people, produces Gingernuts, Cookie Bear, MallowPuffs, Eta Salty Snacks and Nice & Natural snack bars, from two factories in Auckland.

It said URC had made a commitment to "invest in the local team" to grow the business in New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

''We believe Griffin's is a natural strategic fit to our existing snack foods portfolio given its strong brand heritage in New Zealand, a country trusted worldwide in having high credibility when it comes to food quality, safety and authenticity," said URC chief executive Lance Gokongwei.

Following the deal Griffin's chief operating officer Alison Taylor would become chief executive and executive chairman Ron Vela would be retained as a consultant, Griffin's said.

Griffin's said its products were sold in 20 countries and exports accounted for a third of the company's revenue.

The acquisition by URC would provide a distribution network in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China from which to drive export growth, Griffin's said.

Griffin & Sons was established in Nelson in 1895 and production was moved to Lower Hutt in 1938, with an additional factory in Papakura opening in 1967.

PEP took over Griffin's from French food group Danone in 2006 for $385 million.

Two years later the company's Lower Hutt factory was closed with the loss of 228 jobs. 

In 2007, Griffin's acquired the Nice & Natural snacks business, making it the largest snacks manufacturer in New Zealand.URC, which was founded in 1954, claims to be the leading branded snackfoods and beverage company in the Philippines.

In its last financial year the company posted net income of 10.3 billion Phillipine pesos ($272m) on revenue of 81b Phillipine pesos. 

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