NZ Super Fund takes 27% stake in fruit & vege firm NZ Gourmet to aid expansion

NZ Gourmet produces and markets high-quality fresh produce including capsicums, blueberries, asparagus, tomatoes, strawberries and cherries. Photo: Getty Images

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has taken a 27 percent stake in international fresh fruit and vegetable grower and marketer NZ Gourmet for an undisclosed price.

“Our decision to invest in NZ Gourmet, and our confidence in its long-term prospects, is backed by growing global demand for fresh fruit and vegetables and an increasing focus by consumers on health and wellness," said NZ Super Fund acting chief investment officer Mark Fennell in a statement.

The NZ Super Fund is a government savings vehicle to help pre-fund the future cost of universal superannuation. The $38.5 billion fund has more than $5 billion invested in New Zealand, including significant stakes in Kaingaroa Timberlands, Kiwibank, Datacom, Fidelity Life and Metlifecare, along with a portfolio of rural land. It also has more than $1 billion invested in New Zealand equities and commitments to expansion capital supporting small and medium sized local companies,

NZ Gourmet chief executive Paul Martin said the company will use the new capital to support continued growth and expansion both domestically and offshore. He will remain chief executive. The company is currently owned by Gourmet Group and Pauls Holdings both of which count Martin as a director.

Auckland-based NZ Gourmet produces and markets high-quality fresh produce including capsicums, blueberries, asparagus, tomatoes, strawberries and cherries. It has customers around the world and operations in New Zealand, the United States, Australia, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador.

NZ Gourmet and its US subsidiary Gourmet Trading supply leading retailers in North America, Asia and Australasia. Its joint venture partners include Tuaropaki Trust and The Hauhungaroa Partnership.