Deal signed for Ritchies sale

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has bought two South Island businesses in three months, the latest being...
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has bought two South Island businesses in three months, the latest being Ritchies Transport Ltd. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
A major overseas investment firm has moved to buy a second South Island-born company.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) announced yesterday it had signed a deal to buy New Zealand bus company Ritchies Transport Ltd.

It will be the second South Island business US-based KKR has bought in three months. In June, it acquired a majority stake in Dunedin tech company Education Perfect.

Ritchies Transport was started by the Ritchie family in Temuka in 1935 and operates a fleet of more than 1600 vehicles and a network of 42 depots.

KKR was making the investment from the KKR Asia Pacific Infrastructure Fund.

In a statement, KKR said once the transaction was complete, the Ritchie family would continue to hold a stake in the company.

Andrew Ritchie would be appointed chief executive of the company once Glenn Ritchie retired, the statement said.

After 86 years, the family was confident that the company would continue to demonstrate the family values built up over time, Glenn Ritchie said.

KKR saw a continued demand for high-quality, greener public transport solutions in New Zealand, KKR director Andrew Jennings said.

The amount of the transaction and additional details were not disclosed.

The transaction was subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Office, which was expected within four to five months.

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