8 Mar 2012

German takeover of Turners and Growers welcomed

6:05 am on 8 March 2012

There has been positive local reaction to the majority takeover of New Zealand's biggest fresh produce company Turners & Growers by a German firm.

The German agricultural company BayWa has been confirmed as the new majority share holder, with Overseas Investment Office clearance.

It launched a takeover bid last year after buying British-based Guinness Peat Group's 63% stake in Turners & Growers.

Pipfruit New Zealand's chairman, Nelson grower Ian Palmer, thinks that with its European connections and stated intention of lifting the returns to growers BayWa will bring some surety to the apple industry.

He says he believes the German firm has a good understanding of the supply chain and should be able to bring some efficiencies which will assist in bringing more of the money back into grower's returns.

Mr Palmer says the company has a large involvement in fruit handling and systems in Germany and has a good network throughout Europe.

He says overseas ownership of Turners & Growers isn't an issue because the parent company, GPG, which sold out to BayWa, is also a foreign firm.

Support for the takeover has also come from the Scales Corporation, which owns the large apple grower and exporter Mr Apple and holds a 10% shareholding in Turners and Growers.

It says it wants to work with Turners & Growers' apple business, ENZA to improve returns to New Zealand growers.