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  • 31 Jan 2020 11:05 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Dietary supplement firm NZ Fulvic announced today its first exports to USA.

    In what is believed to be a first for the country, New Zealand exports of an organic soil nutrient discovered by accident in a Southland farm have launched into the US.

    A deposit of fulvic acid covering one square kilometre and believed to be worth millions of dollars in processed form was discovered following oil and gas exploration surveys in the 1950s.

    Deposits of this size are rare by international standards with only a few countries around the world able to extract fulvic acid for nutritional products.

    Fulvic acid is a water-soluble material found in a part of soil called the humus. It is the result of a combination of several acids that are created when organic matter decomposes.

    The refined humus is processed into a liquid and marketed as a dietary supplement designed to support immunity, nutrient absorption and natural energy levels.

    An initial export order of more than 1.5 tonnes of the supplement has left New Zealand destined for the US market and will be sold through Amazon - believed to be the first time this nutrient has been sold into the North American market.

    Read more

  • 27 Dec 2019 12:08 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Pushpay Holdings will add about 4,000 church customers to its books with the US$87.5 million ($132.2m) acquisition of rival Church Community Builder, although co-founder Chris Heaslip signalled his departure next year.

    Pushpay bought 100 per cent of the Colorado-based company's shares in an all-cash deal, and is bringing its founder Chris Fowler on to the NZX-listed company's board.

    Church Community Builder head Don Harms will continue with the enlarged company, reporting to Pushpay chief executive Bruce Gordon, with the two companies maintaining their existing platforms with other software providers to ensure a continuation of service of their customers.

    "This strategic partnership enables us to better serve our customers as we strive to be the number one partner to the US faith sector by providing a fully integrated church management system, custom community app and giving solution," Gordon said.

    Pushpay had 7,905 customers at September 30, meaning the acquisition will boost its business by about 50 per cent.

    The company said the deal won't have a material impact on earnings in the March 2020 year because of the work needed to integrate the products, but should lead to higher earnings in subsequent years.

    Pushpay shares rose 2 per cent to $4.05, having been halted for much of the day pending the announcement. They have gained 26 per cent year to date.

    Fowler also bought US$15m of shares from Pushpay director Heaslip at the market price of $3.50. Heaslip will resign from the Pushpay board on March 31, having left his executive role in May of this year.

    Pushpay said it will fund the acquisition through existing cash and a US$62.5m debt facility.


  • 23 Dec 2019 5:12 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Restaurant Brands New Zealand Limited (RBD) has today entered into an asset purchase agreement with a KFC US franchisee for the purchase of 70 stores in Southern California, USA. The purchase comprises 59 KFC stores and 11 combined KFC and Taco Bell stores, together with a head office facility.

    The agreement is subject to the customary conditions for transactions of this nature, including Yum! approval and landlord approval for the assignment of store leases.

    Restaurant Brands will be offering continued employment on existing terms to all 1,100 part time and 500 full time staff currently employed by the franchisee.

    Russel Creedy, RBD Group CEO said, “This acquisition brings with it some very experienced and committed employees who we welcome to the Restaurant Brands family and we look forward to building the business further with them in what is a market with considerable potential for future growth.”

    The transaction is for a purchase price of $US73 million plus capital expenditure reimbursements for recent store refurbishment and customary working capital adjustments. It will be fully debt funded. The company is currently completing a refinancing exercise to, amongst other things, add extra capacity to its borrowing facilities.

    The business generates an annual turnover of $US95 million and a 12 month trailing store EBITDA (pre- G&A) of in excess of $US12 million.

    Russel Creedy added, “This acquisition provides RBD with immediate critical mass and a capable and stable organisation in California from which we can further expand.”

    Settlement is expected by March 2020.

    José Parés, Chairman of RBD said “We are delighted to take the next step in Restaurant Brands’ growth strategy. This acquisition provides us with a solid beach head in the US with significant opportunities for further development."


  • 20 Dec 2019 9:20 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Very pleased to announce that GE will supply wind turbines to the Mt Cass project in New Zealand, owned by MainPower New Zealand Limited. This will be our first wind farm in my adopted country, and will utilize the Typhoon-class 4.2-117 turbines. We are glad to be working with MainPower to support NZ's goals in expanding renewable energy!

    Chris Holsonback, Onshore Wind Product Manager at GE Renewable Energy

  • 28 Nov 2019 4:34 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Straker Translations Limited will provide media localisation services powered by artificial intelligence for multiple TV series produced by a major US TV studio for the Latin American market.

    The NZ$1m deal for services that will be completed by March 2020 and will be the first time a television studio uses an advanced translation platform that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine translation algorithms to power automatic speech recognition to transcribe, translate and understand the nuances of actors’ dialogue while adhering to specific standards for sub-titling.

    This significantly increases translation automation before finally being edited by human translators through technical quality control and post-edition workflows.

    Straker’s fully integrated platform enables the studio, which is undisclosed for competitive reasons, to substantially reduce the time needed to localise TV shows by translating for the Latin America market, enabling quicker release times in those markets and decreasing the risk of piracy and associated security and authentication concerns.

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  • 27 Nov 2019 4:26 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Recognising New Zealand as the next global player in medicinal cannabis, a leading American manufacturer of dietary supplements approached Medical Kiwi about working together. Last week, Empirical Labs and Medical Kiwi directors signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Empirical Labs head office in Fort Collins, Colorado.

    Established in December 2018, Medical Kiwi was the first medicinal cannabis company in the South Island to be granted a cultivation license by the Ministry of Health, allowing the company to establish a cannabis breeding programme for research and development for medicinal cannabis.

    Poised to provide New Zealanders with the medicinal cannabis products they need once the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act is passed this December, and for when the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme is up and running in 2020, Medical Kiwi has been furthering its strategy of cementing strategic international relationships, the latest being with Empirical Labs.

    Medical Kiwi has already secured an uptake deal and signed an MoU with UK distributor Liberty Herbal Technologies Ltd, giving Medical Kiwi the rights to sell Liberty’s medicinal cannabis products and allowing Medical Kiwi to supply Liberty with medicinal cannabis for its hapac® devices sold globally. Medical Kiwi has also signed an exclusive distribution deal with Vitality CBD Limited, allowing Medical Kiwi to import and sell Vitality CBD’s full range of 0% THC products, currently sold across the UK including in Boots stores, Tesco supermarkets, pharmacies and health stores.

    Medical Kiwi Chairperson Aldo Miccio says the MoU with Empirical Labs is a coup for the company, and the New Zealand industry.

    “The world’s eyes are on New Zealand and we were extremely pleased that a global leader with 30 years’ experience in formulation and optimal ways of delivering pharmaceuticals, came through our door to work with us,” says Miccio.

    “Our new relationship with Empirical Labs means that we can get proven cannabis products quicker to market as they are ahead of New Zealand in research and development,” he says. “We also have an opportunity to develop some very exciting IP with Empirical Labs as we work together to develop new and unique medicinal cannabis products.

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  • 19 Nov 2019 4:24 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Unfiltered - a business that interviews top business people for educational and motivational purposes - says it had raised US$1.5m ($2.4m) to fund expansion into the United States.

    Co-founder and chief executive Jake Millar said Daniel Saks, founder of US unicorn AppDirect had invested, along with Crimson Education's Jamie Beaton, Wildfire founder Victoria Ransom, property investor Garry Robertson, New York-based investor Campbell Myers and business academic Professor David Teece.

    However, the latest capital raising was dominated by early Xero investors, husband and wife Guy and Sue Haddleton, whose software company Anaplan listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

    Guy Haddleton and Beaton have joined former Saatchi & Saatchi global chief executive Kevin Roberts on the Unfiltered board, with Haddleton taking over as executive chairman, Millar said.

    Read More

  • 15 Nov 2019 3:36 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Thanks to Russell McVeagh for hosting AmCham's end of year event.

    See all the photos on Flickr.

  • 15 Nov 2019 1:49 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    AmCham Womens Chapter hosted the “21st Century Leader: intersection between traditional and new leadership approaches for women”. See photos

    • Panel chair: Dr Sydney Savion, GM Learning, Air New Zealand
    • Katelyn Choe, U.S. Consul General
    • Wendy Kerr, Director – Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland Business School
    • Alliv Samson, COO, Kami Ltd

    If you get a curveball - how to cope with your career choices

    Wendy - say yes first and worry about the consequences later.

    Find the silver lining in this cloud - it's hard to do in the moment but ask, What is the big lesson in this?  How we choose to navigate this situation is what defines us.

    Alliv told the story about being rejected by YCombinator multiple times despite Kami's chairman being one of their investors.  Since choosing a different path, they now have grown from 1 to 7.5 million users.

    Katelyn spoke about dealing with unknowns.  She uses Suzy Welch's principle of 10-10-10.  What is the impact of this decision in 10 minutes, in  10 months and 10 years?

    Sydney recommended Sally Krawcheck's book - Own It: The Power of Women At Work.

    And Katelyn shared an acronym which she values - FAIL which stands for Fateful Accident In Learning.  And did you know she has a hopscotch outside her office and invited John Key (among others) to skip down it!

    Follow up reading

    To keep the learning flowing for our participants after the event, see the resources provided by our speakers.

  • 13 Nov 2019 7:19 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities.

    Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The meeting will be chaired by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    “Despite the recent death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS remains a threat.  Addressing that threat will require ongoing international cooperation,” says Mr Peters.

    While in Washington DC, Mr Peters will also hold meetings with the Trump Administration and Members of Congress, aimed at advancing the relationship between New Zealand and the United States.

    “As this Government has repeatedly made clear since taking office two years ago, New Zealand wishes to initiate Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the United States,” Mr Peters says.

    “This visit will build on an officials meeting last week where our two countries agreed to enhance the bilateral trade and investment relationship. We are looking to take things to the next level,” says Mr Peters.

    Mr Peters will be travelling 14-17 November.