Wallace Group acquires South Island processor to secure its place in the market

Wallace Group chief executive Graham Shortland.
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Wallace Group chief executive Graham Shortland.

Waikato firm Wallace Group's acquisition of a Christchurch tannery is a "strategic investment" as the company moves into the South Island.

The Waitoa company has added Nichols (NZ) Limited to its operation. Nichols is a specialist tannery and has a significant casualty stock collector network across the South Island.

It employs 30 full-time staff at the tannery and has a seasonal peak workforce of around 70 people, at its tannery and skinning sites.

A woker from Nichols prepares pelts for export.
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A woker from Nichols prepares pelts for export.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, has delighted Wallace's chief executive Graham Shortland.

It was one of the company's key goals following the merger with Farm Brands in June.

Nichols reputation has been built on supplying high quality finished leathers for luxury glove, garment, accessory and footwear manufacturers. 

High quality leathers ready for export from the Nichols Christchurch tannery.
Supplied

High quality leathers ready for export from the Nichols Christchurch tannery.

It also supplied other tanners with selected and graded raw material. 

Its customer base spans Australasia, north and south America, Europe and Asia. 

The opportunity to acquire the Nicols came when its parent company, UK-based LH Nichols Limited decided to divest. 

The Wallace Corporation, prior to its recent merger with Farm Brands had been interested in Nichols.  

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"We will be using the acquisition to expand our collection service in the South Island," said Shortland.

"Nichols produces further processed lamb skins from slink lambs, so it complements our large scale tannery at Waitoa which produces further processed cattle hides and calf skins.

"The recycling of co-products from the agricultural sector performs a valuable service for farmers and processors as well protecting the natural environment.

"Our collection service has created a positive industry for converting lamb and calf skins into valuable exports for consumer goods."

Nichols will be fully integrated into Wallace Group, but will continue to operate under the Nichols brand. 

"All Nichols staff will be retained and become employees of Wallace Group," Shortland said. 

"As demand for our casualty cow collection business in the South Island grows, we'll also look to employ additional staff."

 - Stuff

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