Hellers expands in Australia

Sausage-maker Hellers has continued its foray across the Tasman buying Victoria's Moira Mac Poultry for an undisclosed sum and adding $A40million ($NZ43.5million) of revenue to its income stream.

Wellington-based Rangatira Investments, which controls Hellers, said yesterday the purchase was part of the smallgoods manufacturer's plans to expand in Australia, where it has already identified an absence of pre-cooked sausages as a "significant opportunity".

The expansion plans are running alongside Rangatira's own considerations for the investment, with Cameron Partners reviewing the business and Australian media floating the possibility of a sale.

"Moira Mac's is a key part of Hellers' Australian growth strategy, providing a platform to build on, that can be scaled up to establish an expanded presence in the Australian market," Rangatira said.

"Moira Mac's has a great culture, a highly experienced and long-serving management team, exciting growth opportunities and through investment in its manufacturing capability, additional capacity for growth."

Hellers employs 600 people and produced 30million kilograms of meat in the year ended March 31, Rangatira said in its annual report.

The meat company's earnings improved in the second half of the year with stricter margin control and a focus on new product development.

Rangatira does not break out the firm's earnings, but the Australian Financial Review reported Hellers generates annual earnings of $20million.

The Wellington investment firm increased its stake in Hellers to 63% from 50% in late 2015, paying $9.5million for the extra shares, and valuing the investment at $52.2million at the time.

Rangatira recognised a $36.3million revaluation gain on the Hellers stake after the meat company acquired Gramart Foods.

The investment firm did not split out the value of its Hellers stake in the 2018 annual report, although it recognised the value of the meat firm's goodwill at $27.7million as at March 31

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