This year marks the 60th anniversary for the Dunedin-based family business founded on fishing. It has since divested widely and, over the decades, the Skeggs Group has covered a host of business ventures. There is the seafood, the maritime and land transport, the tourism, the property, the wine. And so on.
But fish interests are taking a back seat now. In January this year, the group sold its Pacifica Salmon subsidiary company to New Zealand King Salmon Co for $950,000. The Malaysian majority shareholder company had to obtain Overseas Investment Office approval for the purchase.
The salmon sale all but removes aquaculture interests from the Skeggs portfolio. In 2010, it sold the majority of those assets to Sanford Fisheries for $85 million. Now it retains just its Bluff oyster holding.
Tourism, however, is really taking off for the private company founded by Sir Clifford Skeggs, now in his 80s. The family-owned Southern discoveries has a 50% share in Queenstown’s Kawarau Jets and has taken over coach and tour operation Go Milford, as well as Go Fiordland’s Information Centre, the two-boat Queenstown Fishing Charters business, a retail store, cafe and bar. Other tourism holdings include the Milford Discovery Centre and Milford Deep Underwater.
The $6 million upgrade of Milford Sound – also announced earlier this year – has a strong Skeggs connection. The Milford Sound Development Authority, of which the Skeggs Group owns 49%, received approval from the Department of Conservation and Evironment Southland to extend the basin 10m from shore. The extension will allow 150,000 additional passengers a year.
Other Skeggs Group interests include Pacifica Shipping, Akarua Winery and Port Denaru Marine in Fiji.
Control of the Skeggs Group has now passed to brothers David, Bryan and Graeme Skeggs.