Private equity firm pays $110 million for Manuka Health NZ, OIO approves sale

Manuka Health founder Kerry Paul shows off his company's products.
BRUCE MERCER/FAIRFAX NZ

Manuka Health founder Kerry Paul shows off his company's products.

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the $110 million sale of Manuka Health NZ to private equity interests.

The food and healthcare firm, founded in 2006, runs the biggest honey factory in New Zealand and sells its products in 50 countries.

Last year it announced it had been bought out by Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) for an undisclosed sum, subject to Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval.

The OIO has approved the sale in a decision that reveals the $110m purchase price.

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PEP is the biggest private equity firm in Australia and New Zealand, with more than A$6 billion (NZ$6.7b) of funds under management.

When the sale was announced, Manuka Health founder and chief executive Kerry Paul said he was excited by the benefits of partnering with PEP.

The extra capital would be a boost for research and development, including all-important clinical trials.

He said the current management team would stay on under the new owners.

The chemistry behind manuka honey's healing power was revealed in 2006.

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German scientists found the naturally occurring compound methylglyoxal was responsible for its antibacterial properties.

Manuka Health opened a Te Awamutu facility in 2014 which allowed it to triple production from 672 tonnes to 2200, while lowering the per-unit cost.

Who are Pacific Equity Partners?

The private equity giant has had substantial dealings in companies with New Zealand operations.

Veda: A leading provider of consumer and commercial credit checking in Australia and New Zealand, which PEP acquired in July 2007.

Griffin's Foods: New Zealand's leading biscuit and snack foods manufacturer, acquired by PEP in June 2006.

Hoyts Group: The region's second-largest cinema operator in Australia and New Zealand, including Val Morgan, the biggest provider of cinema advertising in both countries, acquired in December 2007.

Spotless: Outsourced facilities management and services in Australia and New Zealand, acquired in August 2012

 - Stuff

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