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Founder's grandson takes control of Gough family firm

BUSINESSDESK: Ben Gough, the grandson of a co-founder of Gough Group, has built up a controlling stake in the Christchurch-based equipment and machinery supplier.

Gough Group, formerly known as Gough, Gough & Hamer, is privately held by the Gough family and supplies equipment and machinery across the transport, infrastructure, forestry, agriculture and mining sectors.

Ben Gough says his consolidation of the firm's shareholding doesn't mark a shift in its operations, which have been "performing exceedingly well". He holds a seat on Gough Group's board and is also the general manager of strategic development.

"I'm heavily engaged at both operational and governance levels," Mr Gough told BusinessDesk.

"To be able to make a commitment as a shareholder and invest back into the business sends a strong signal to our key stakeholders, our customers, suppliers and employees."

Founded in 1929, Gough Group employs more than 880 staff across New Zealand and Australia, and will mark 80 years of selling Caterpillar machinery this year.

In 2010 it acquired the dealership to sell Palfinger cranes in Australia, making it one of the top 10 dealers for the Austrian brand worldwide.

Mr Gough says he is "cautiously optimistic" about the company's outlook, as it is "insulated if one particular market has a downturn" given its exposure to a diverse range of sectors.

The threat of a slower Chinese economy and the ongoing woes in Europe mean he is wary of flow-on effect to New Zealand, though is more upbeat about construction as the Canterbury rebuild shows signs of getting under way.

He says there are positive signs for the mining sector, which Gough Group has "reasonable exposure" to, because of the potential in New Zealand for expansion.