Japan's Maruha Nichiro buys stake in Sanford

Japanese food group Maruha Nichiro Corp has bought a 4.7% stake in Sanford.

Japanese food group Maruha Nichiro Corp has bought a 4.7% stake in local fishing company Sanford [NZX: SAN] at a 7.6% discount in an off-market transaction with interests associated with the NBR Rich List Goodfellow family.

On March 4, Avalon Investment Trust, Sanford's second-biggest shareholder, sold 4.4 million shares to Maruha for $25 million, according to a substantial shareholder notice lodged with the NZX. That equates to $5.70 a share, less than the $6.17 price the shares were trading at before the transaction, and 10% below their current price of $6.35. The transaction reduces Avalon's stake in Sanford to 9.2% from almost 14% previously.

Avalon counts Thomas Bruce Goodfellow among its current directors and has previously counted Sanford board members Peter and Bruce Goodfellow as shareholders. Avalon bought 4.4 million shares for $22.8 million from the primary Goodfellow's vehicle, Amalgamated Dairies, in October last year.

Maruha's New Zealand operations include the Aleksey Slobodchikov fishing vessel. The Japanese company has previously worked with the Goodfellows in a joint venture with the Talley family in the late 1980s, in a deal which ended up in court more than a decade after it dissolved when Maruha discovered it overpaid tax.