Australian ownership of Edendale nursery hailed
@devlincolle The Edendale Nursery in Southland has been bought by biotechnology forestry company ArborGen.
The company trading name has been changed to HWK Limited, the Companies Office website says.
Headquartered in Whakatane, the company has laboratories and nurseries in New Zealand and Australia.
The Edendale Nursery, established in 1987, grows seedlings for large corporate forest owners, forest managers, consultants and farm foresters in Southland and Otago.
ArborGen started production at the nursery last week and will be responsible for sales in the 2014 season onwards.
The nursery's 95 hectares of land will be leased from the former owners with ArborGen holding a land purchase option.
Approval for the transaction has been received from the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.
ArborGen Australasian operations general manager Greg Mann said Edendale had the capacity to produce up to 10 million seedlings annually.
The purchase would allow ArborGen to expand its market reach, he said.
Edendale Nursery was profitable, had great product and a good customer base, which had attracted the company to the deal.
"This acquisition will enhance our existing business in many ways.
"[It] enables ArborGen to supply customers throughout the North and South Islands. We look forward to working with forest owners in Southland and Otago, assisting them to add additional value to their estates, and continuing Edendale's proud tradition in the region."
The former owners had specifically sought ArborGen to take over the business to ensure it continued to grow, he said.
Ron Hinton, who was managing director of Edendale Nursery, said he was pleased the business he had worked hard to develop was in capable hands.
ArborGen is the largest supplier of seedlings in New Zealand and sells up to 25 million trees annually - predominantly in the North Island.
It has five production nurseries, two seed orchards, and a manufacturing facility for the production of radiata varietal seedlings.
The Southland Times