Rangatira-controlled Hellers buys Australia's Moira Mac for undisclosed sum

Hellers employs 600 people and produced 30 million kilograms of meat in the year ended March 31. Photo: Getty Images

Sausage-maker Hellers has continued its foray across the Tasman buying Victoria's Moira Mac Poultry for an undisclosed sum and adding A$40 million of revenue to its income stream.

Wellington-based Rangatira Investments, which controls Hellers, today said the purchase was part of the smallgoods manufacturer's plans to expand in Australia, where it's already identified an absence of pre-cooked sausages as a "significant opportunity in the largely untapped Australian market". The expansion plans are running alongside Rangatira's own considerations for the investment, with Cameron Partners reviewing the business and Australian media floating the possibility of a sale.

"Moira Mac’s is a key part of Hellers’ Australian growth strategy providing a platform to build on, that can be scaled up to establish an expanded presence in the Australian market," Rangatira said. "Moira Mac’s has a great culture, a highly experienced and long-serving management team, exciting growth opportunities and through investment in its manufacturing capability, additional capacity for growth."

Hellers employs 600 people and produced 30 million kilograms of meat in the year ended March 31, Rangatira said in its annual report. The meat company's earnings improved in the second half of the year with stricter margin control and a focus on new product development. Rangatira doesn't break out the firm's earnings, but the Australian Financial Review reported Hellers generates annual earnings of $20 million.

The Wellington investment firm increased its stake in Hellers to 63 percent from 50 percent in late 2015, paying $9.5 million for the extra shares, and valuing the investment at $52.2 million at the time.

Rangatira recognised a $36.3 million revaluation gain on the Hellers stake after the meat company acquired Gramart Foods. The investment firm didn't split out the value of its Hellers take in the 2018 annual report, although it recognised the value of the meat firm's goodwill at $27.7 million as at March 31.