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Comvita in tie-up with Blenheim apiary

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/05/2016 Sophie Boot

New Zealand manuka honey products maker Comvita is linking up with Blenheim-based apiary operator Putake Group to form a South Island-based honey business to meet global demand for manuka honey.

The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a 50:50 joint venture, named Putake Group Holdings, which would develop a wholesale honey business in the South Island, Comvita said.

Putake owns 1,200 hives and manages another 2,800 hives through separate joint venture arrangements.

Comvita will pay for its involvement with $2 million in shares.

Comvita shares last traded at $12.80 and have risen 52 per cent this year.

"Working with Putake will enable us to secure honey supply in the top half of the South Island as well as providing a platform for future growth," chief executive Scott Coulter said.

"The JV will enable us to accelerate the development of a wholesale honey business in the South Island through speed of execution, immediate scale, finance and resourcing to secure supply."

Earlier this month, Comvita reported a 68 per cent gain in annual profit to $17.2m on revenue of $202m as Australian sales soared, overtaking New Zealand as the company's largest market.

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