Kiwi billionaire Graeme Hart and his son Harry have purchased cereal company Hubbard Foods and Gregg’s sauces and will combine recently acquired Hansells Food Group under a new food group.
A new Hart vehicle – Walter & Wild – has been formed to bring together the three entities and will be a significant force in the country’s fast-moving consumer goods sector with a combined portfolio of more than 500 branded products.
"The bringing together of Hubbards, Hansells and Gregg's Sauces under Walter & Wild combines some of New Zealand's best-known food brands into a food manufacturing powerhouse," Harry Hart said in a statement.
"The breadth of expertise, manufacturing capability combined with an understanding of markets, both here and offshore, will drive further growth and innovation. We now have a significant brand portfolio reaching consumers from breakfast to dessert.”
Walter & Wild’s ownership structure will include both Harry and Graeme Hart.
Top brands in the Walter & Wild portfolio include Aunt Betty's, Hansells, Vitafresh, Vitasport, Hubbards' muesli and cereals and Greggs table sauces.
The company has also bought the licenses for the supply of Gregg’s tomato, barbeque and steak sauces, and ketchup, as well as the F. Whitlock & Sons Worcestershire sauce in New Zealand, as part of a required divestment undertaking from Heinz Wattie’s.
Hubbards founder Dick Hubbard said he was pleased his company was to remain in New Zealand ownership.
“After making the equivalent of three billion bowls of mueslis and cereals over 30 years, it is time to hand over the reins to a younger generation. In selecting a buyer, it was important that Hubbards remained in New Zealand ownership. I’m very pleased to have achieved that goal.
“Harry and his team have the energy and enthusiasm to take Hubbards forward. I am really proud of what Diana and I have achieved. The company is in excellent shape with a strong management team, and the brand is a clear market leader in muesli. We had a lot of fun along the way, and I want to thank New Zealand for the opportunity to serve,” Mr Hubbard said.
Graeme Hart knows what he’s doing, having built a global packaging empire under Reynolds Group.
In February Reynolds reported revenue of $US10.5 billion for the year to December delivering a net profit of $US439 million, all from a balance sheet geared at 87%.
Last year’s NBR Rich List valued his net worth at $7.5b, below figures shown in other lists including Bloomberg, which has him at about $11b when converted to New Zealand currency.
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