Sweet deal has good buzz

New Zealand Honey Ltd shares will be acquired by Comvita on a conditional basis.

Timaru-based New Zealand Honey Producers Co-Operative board chairman Barney Sundstrum said, in terms of practical management of hives, nothing would change.

"Local growers will still be supplying to the same organisation. It will just be under different ownership," Sundstrum said.

Comvita has signed a sale and purchase agreement to acquire all the shares of New Zealand Honey Limited from New Zealand Honey Producers Co-Operative Ltd.

This acquisition will take place only on the approval of the shareholders of the co-operative, which is owned by 70 beekeeper shareholders with the majority in the South Island.

The shareholders would be getting full value for their shares said Sundstrum.

"Roughly, the shareholders will be getting the full value for their shares - book value of the company plus certain amount of goodwill money. So essentially they will be getting their money back and some profit."

The acquisition of New Zealand Honey Limited comprises all of the assets of the company including land and honey processing assets in Timaru, honey inventory at settlement and a long term honey supply agreement with New Zealand Honey Producers Co-Operative Ltd.

New Zealand Honey Ltd produces and sells products under the well recognised brands, Hollands Honey, 3 Bees and Sweet Meadow. It also is one of the largest exporters of New Zealand honey products.

Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said the acquisition went a long way to address the supply constraints that have been challenging Comvita in recent years.

"We also gain valuable production capacity and additional company exposure in the South Island," he said.

"Historically, Comvita has sourced honey predominantly from the North Island.

"By purchasing New Zealand Honey Limited and partnering with New Zealand Honey Producers Co-Operative, we are able to combine export initiatives and leverage Comvita's international distribution and premium brand image. This acquisition is going to create lasting value for the shareholders of both companies."

The Timaru Herald