Frozen convenience food manufacturer Leader Products has been bought by Australian food maker Patties Foods. No price has been disclosed.
Leader was founded in 1998 and produces burgers, schnitzels, hotdogs and lasagna toppas for retailers including Countdown, New World and Pak'nSave as well as cafés, grocery stores, caterers and sports stadiums.
Leader was reported to be up for sale last month but managing director Tony Peterson rubbished the report, although he accepted the company's owners were "looking at opportunities."
Patties is owned by Pacific Equity Partners, which bought the former ASX-listed company earlier this year.
It ran into financial difficulties after being linked to a widespread outbreak of Hepatitis A in Australia caused by contaminated frozen berries imported from China and sold under its Nanna's and Gourmet Choice brands.
Mr Peterson is to retain a stake in the combined business and will remain managing director of Leader. It's understood Leader has turnover of about $60 million.
Patties chief executive Paul Hitchcock said in an e-mailed statement that the two companies were natural partners.
"This deal will create a market-leading food business across Australia and New Zealand," he said. "Leader is a great New Zealand success story and we are very keen to support the team in their continued growth."
Mr Peterson said that Patties "will be a great long-term partner for Leader, with capital to invest in our local manufacturing capacity and our continued growth and expansion in Australasia."
Leader was founded in 1998 by Mr Peterson and Richard Crabb. The transaction is expected to complete early next year and requires regulatory approval.
(BusinessDesk and NBR staff)