North Island operation now under full MG ownership and management

New Zealand grower co-operative Market Gardeners (MG) has finalised the purchase of Warkworth-based Southern Paprika (SPL).

SPL’s Warkworth operation

Image: Market Gardeners

Featuring 27ha of modern glasshouses across five developments, housing up to 1m capsicum plants and producing 7,000 tonnes per year, SPL is one of the largest hothouse operations in New Zealand.

MG has acquired the full SPL business and assets, including land, buildings, intellectual property and trademark for the SPL brand.

All 170 employees of SPL will remain in the business, ensuring a seamless continuity of operations.

MG chief executive, Peter Hendry, said the acquisition would provide the co-operative with greater security of supply of capsicums, along with opportunities to align supply with demand in other hothouse categories for New Zealand’s North Island market.

“The purchase of SPL presents the opportunity for MG to expand its footprint in the North Island with the addition of a hothouse operation which offers a wide range of benefits and advantages to our existing grower-suppliers, shareholders and customers,” said Hendry.

“The acquisition supports our strategy to secure supply and enhance our presence in hothouse categories and, along with our other grower-suppliers, achieve better overall outcomes which we believe will ultimately result in greater returns to our shareholders.

“We also see enormous opportunity going forward with the capability of expanding the operation to align with future market demand for other hothouse products.”

SPL founder, Hamish Alexander, said he was delighted to hand over the business to a New Zealand company that has the resources to take the business forward.

“It was our goal to find owners like MG, with a culture and approach to business that aligns with ours, particularly around the way they look after their people,” said Hamish.

“We are thrilled to have owners with the necessary experience and complementary skills to enable a long-term focus for the business as it enters its next phase.”