Rangatira buys 35% stake in Tuatara Brewing to help fund expansion

The new Paraparaumu brewery has the capacity to produce at least two million litres a year, with potential to double production.

Wellington-based investment company Rangatira has acquired a 35 percent stake in Tuatara Brewing, giving the brewer funds to lift capacity at its new plant on the Kapiti Coast.

No price or transaction details were disclosed and Tuatara, originally incorporated in 2000 as Vasta Brewing before being relaunched as Tuatara in 2010, does not disclose its financial statements to the Companies Office.

Tuatara founding shareholders Sean Murrie and Carl Vasta have sold down their stakes as part of the deal, according to a statement.

Mr Vasta is a shareholder of Vasta Brewing, which owned 45 percent of Tuatara, while Mr Murrie had a 38 percent interest via The Malthouse Ltd. Company records have not yet been updated on the Companies Office website.

Tuatara produces one million litres of beer a year, which it says ranks it among New Zealand's top three craft breweries. It exports to Australia, Singapore, China, the US and Europe.

The new Paraparaumu brewery has the capacity to produce at least two million litres a year, with potential to double production to around four million litres, the company says.

Rangatira will appoint two directors to the Tuatara board, joining Messrs Vasta and Murrie. The investment company's chief executive, Ian Frame, says he expects Tuatara to emulate the success of Hellers, the small-goods manufacturer that Rangatira took a 50 percent stake in 2003 and helped drive a threefold increase in production.

"Tuatara has the ingredients to become not only this country's leading craft brewery but to impose its presence internationally," he says. "They're a growth company in a growth sector, they've built a strong brand and market position, have a good management team and, most importantly, a top-quality product range."

Earlier this year, Rangatira said it had about $70 million available for investments and was looking for mid-sized companies with annual sales of more than $12 million, good growth potential and the need for capital to expand.

Rangatira shares trade infrequently on the Unlisted platform. The 11.5 million B shares, which are mainly held by charities and have limited voting rights, were last at $7.50, while the 6.2 million A shares were last at $7.

In April, Rangatira said growth in operating earnings in the year ended March 31 exceeded its guidance of 10 percent to 20 percent.


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