28
Mar 2023

MG boosts hothouse capability with quality acquisition

MG boosts hothouse capability with quality acquisition
Driven by its plan to have a strong North Island hothouse presence, Market Gardeners Limited (MG) has finalised the purchase of Warkworth based operation, Southern Paprika Limited (SPL). The SPL business is now under full MG ownership and management.

Established in 1998, SPL was formed by Alexander Cropping Limited (ACL), a New Zealand business owned by Hamish and Robyn Alexander and the Levarht Family of Holland.   Featuring 27 hectares of modern glasshouses across five developments, housing up to one million capsicum plants and producing seven million kilos per year, SPL is one of the largest hothouse operations in New Zealand.

MG has acquired the full SPL business and assets, including land, buildings, intellectual property and trademark for the SPL brand. Importantly, all 170 employees of SPL will remain in the business, ensuring expertise is retained in the business and have a seamless continuity of operations.

Speaking about the investment, MG CEO, Peter Hendry, said the acquisition will further boost the scale of MG and will provide the co-operative with greater security of supply of capsicums and further future opportunities to align supply with demand in other hothouse categories for the growing North Island market.

“As a proud Kiwi co-operative, we’re thrilled to welcome another great New Zealand business of the calibre of SPL and all of its employees into the MG Group,” says Peter Hendry

“The purchase of SPL presents the opportunity for MG to expand its footprint in the North Island with the addition of a hothouse operation which offers a wide range of benefits and advantages to our existing grower-suppliers, shareholders and customers.”

“The SPL hothouse operation was chosen due to its location, the calibre of its people, the quality of the facilities and potential scalability.”

“The acquisition supports our strategy to secure supply and enhance our presence in hothouse categories and, along with our other grower-suppliers, achieve better overall outcomes which we believe will ultimately result in greater returns to our shareholders.”

“We also see enormous opportunity going forward with the capability of expanding the operation to align with future market demand for other hothouse products.”

“It’s a win for our customers, our current capsicum and hothouse suppliers, our co-operative shareholders and the local community in Warkworth.”

SPL founder, Hamish Alexander, said he is delighted to hand over the business to a New Zealand company that mirrors their values and has the resources to take the business forward.

“It was our goal to find owners like MG, with a culture and approach to business that aligns with ours, particularly around the way they look after their people,” says Hamish. “We are thrilled to have owners with the necessary experience and complementary skills to enable a long-term focus for the business as it enters its next phase.”

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For more information contact:

Ellery Tappin
General Manager Communications and Sustainability
+64 21 226 3005
etappin@mggroup.co.nz

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Market Gardeners Limited

Established in 1923, Market Gardeners Limited, trading as MG, is a grower co-operative and leading fresh produce business, servicing the entire market with a full range of fruit and vegetables through a network of nine large temperature-controlled branches, along with two MG Direct branches. MG partners with hundreds of growers (many of which are shareholders), along with retail and food service customers. MG is also involved in a number of complementary businesses including IP, exporting, along with holding the major shareholding in Australian business, Premier Fresh Australia and is the New Zealand partner for large international brands, including Dole and Sunkist.  Also involved in farming, MG own 100% of large Nelson hothouse and outdoor growing operation, JS Ewers, and it has a 50% stake (owning 100% of the property/assets) in undercover berry fruit business, Kaipaki Berryfruits.

 

Southern Paprika Limited

A business that began in a field in Matakana has grown into a large, sophisticated glasshouse operation, with nearly one million plants at any one time producing seven million kilos of capsicums a year. SPL started as a joint-venture which was formed in 1998 between Alexander Cropping Limited (ACL) and the Levarht Family of Holland.  The 86 ha SPL site is in Warkworth, 60 minutes North of Auckland. The property consists of five glasshouse complexes totalling 27ha, including 26Ha at the Warkworth site and the original 1ha structure which is located at Point Wells. SPL has developed state of the art glasshouses which utilise the latest innovations. The business, which employs 170 staff, has also invested significantly in automation, systems and packhouses, leading to what it believes to be the operation of the most efficient producer of premium capsicums in New Zealand.

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