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Turners and Growers to buy Apollo Apples for up to $44.1m

Turners & Growers [NZX: TUR], the fruit marketer controlled by Germany's BayWa, has agreed to buy Hawke's Bay-based Apollo Apples for as much as $44.1 million as it looks to meet growing global demand.

The Auckland-based company will pay $36.05 million up front for the apple grower, packer and exporter, and cool store operator, and will pay up to $8 million in the following four years if performance targets are met, T&G said in a statement. Apollo founders Bruce and Ross Beaton will stay with the business for at least the next four years.

T&G also agreed to pay $1 million for a half-stake in Apollo Foods, a small processed apple foods business, with the Beatons keeping the other half.

The deal is part of T&G's growth strategy to help its ENZA unit meet global demand for southern hemisphere supply, it said.

"The acquisition demonstrates our commitment to further invest in the NZ apple industry, improve grower returns and increase NZ apple exports," T&G chief executive Alastair Hulbert said. "We need to serve the demand of a greater number of export customers and markets."

T&G returned to profit in 2013 after two years of losses when it wrote down the value of its orchards, with higher volumes, price increases, greater access to new markets and customers in Asia helping to boost its export earnings.

The deal is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and certain material contracts, which T&G said will likely be satisfied within four months.

T&G's shares, of which BayWa owns about 73 percent, were unchanged at $1.90 yesterday, and have gained 8.6 percent this year.


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NZ fresh produce company Enza / Turners & Growers (T&G) is aiming to invest in the Latin American fruit sector over the coming 12 months as it seeks to expand its sourcing programmes for table grapes, kiwifruit and apples. Speaking to EUROFRUIT, T&G chairman Klaus-Josef Lutz said the region was very much on the company's radar following the adoption of a new international commercial strategy focused primarily on those core products. ... For BayWa, the future for its affiliated growers in Europe, meanwhile, is to consolidate their position in domestic markets while exploring new avenues outside the continent. German apple growers, for example, could eventually find a reliable alternative outlet in Asian markets such as China and India, for example, said Lutz. "The priority is to achieve commercial stability through supply chain management, logistics, productivity increase and of course new varieties which have to obey the special taste demands in Asia," he said. "I see the future growth more abroad than in Europe." .