Champion flour sold to Japanese firm

Last updated 16:20 22/02/2013

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Food company Goodman Fielder says it has completed the sale of its New Zealand Champion flour milling business to Japan's Nisshin Flour Milling for $51 million.

The Champion Milling business has 130 staff, with flour mills in Christchurch and Mt Maunganui.

Goodman Fielder - which makes household food brands such as Nature's Fresh and Vogels bread and Edmonds baking ingredients - announced the sale in December and said then Nisshin had indicated its intention to retain all staff.

At the time Goodman Fielder chief executive Chris Delaney said the sale was part of its strategy to divest non-core assets.

"Together with the sale, we have also structured a long-term supply partnership with Nisshin to ensure Goodman Fielder maintains an efficient supply of flour and related products for our business in New Zealand."

Under the agreement, Goodman Fielder would retain its business of selling flour to retailers, in-store bakeries and hot bread shops, while Nisshin would supply commercial and industrial customers in New Zealand.

Nisshin is Japan's largest flour miller, with annual revenues of $2.5 billion.

The company will use the cash from the sale to reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet.

Goodman Fielder this month reported an impressive jump in topline net profit for the period - up 137 per cent year-on-year to A$51m (NZ$62.7m) - but that was due to asset sales, including its Integro oils business and lower restructuring costs.

Its normalised net profit, excluding asset sales and restructuring costs, fell four per cent on the previous year to A$41.2m. Revenue slipped off nine per cent to A$1.2b.

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