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OIO approves Australian raids on NZ firms

NZN 31/03/2017 Rebecca Howard

The Overseas Investment Office approved Australian private equity raids on New Zealand food and transport businesses, each worth more than $100 million.

The New Zealand agency tasked with approving large or sensitive foreign acquisitions signed off on the deals in February and released summaries of the decisions on Friday.

Neither acquisition involved sensitive land, meaning they only needed approval if the assets were worth more than $100 million.

One involved Pacific Equity Partners, which owns the Patties Group, an Australian supplier of frozen savoury and frozen dessert pies.

It bought New Zealand-based Food Partners, better known as Leader Products, which makes frozen convenience food and is the major supplier to Subway Australasia, Asia for ready-to-eat protein products.

According to the OIO approval, Food Partners is seen as complementary to the existing patties business in Australia and Patties considers there is an opportunity to leverage its existing customer relationships and distribution networks to sell Food Partners products into Australia across several channels.

In the other deal, Champ Private Equity bought road, shipping and freight businesses from the James Barker Shipping Trust collectively worth more than $100 million, the OIO summary said.

The Strait Shipping business, which runs the Bluebridge ferry service between Wellington and Picton, is among the assets Champ bought.

In both cases, the amount of investment was withheld.

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