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  • 02 Jul 2020 11:52 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    VICTOR, N.Y., June 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a leading beverage alcohol company, today announced it has signed an agreement with Sazerac Company, Inc., one of America’s oldest privately held distillers, to divest the Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy brand, related inventory and interests in certain contracts for an aggregate of approximately $255 million. The deal is subject to certain purchase price and closing adjustments, requires FTC review and clearance, and is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal 2021.

    Constellation has signed a separate agreement with E. & J. Gallo Winery to divest its Nobilo Wine brand and certain related assets and liabilities for $130 million, subject to purchase price and closing adjustments. The Nobilo transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2021. This agreement was previously announced in December 2019 and is contingent on closing the amended revised deal announced in May 2020 in which Constellation agreed to divest a portion of its wine and spirits portfolio principally priced at $11 retail and below, and certain related facilities to E. & J. Gallo Winery for approximately $1.03 billion, subject to closing adjustments, of which $250 million is an earnout based on divested brand performance over a two-year period after closing. This amended revised deal, which requires FTC review and clearance, and governmental approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal 2021.

    “These agreements represent another step forward in our efforts to transform our wine and spirits business,” said Bill Newlands, president and chief executive officer at Constellation Brands. “Thanks to the continued hard work of our Constellation team members, together with our distributor and retailer partners, our strategy continues to gain momentum. We look forward to closing these transactions in the coming months.”

    Additional commentary related to these agreements will be provided during Constellation Brands’ first quarter fiscal 2021 results conference call to be held Wednesday, July 1, 2020, at 11:30 a.m. EDT. The conference call can be accessed by dialing +1-877-673-1771 and entering conference identification number 2076116, beginning at 11:20 a.m. EDT. A live, listen-only webcast of the conference call will be available on the company’s website,, under the Investors/Events & Presentations section.

    This news release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. The word “expect” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. These statements may relate to business strategy, future operations, prospects, plans and objectives of management, as well as information concerning expected actions of third parties. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in, or implied by, such forward-looking statements.

    The forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will in fact occur or will occur on any contemplated timetable. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release and Constellation Brands undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The revised wine and spirits transaction, the Nobilo transaction and the Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy transaction are each subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions, including the receipt of required regulatory clearances and other governmental approvals. The Nobilo transaction is also conditioned on the completion of the revised wine and spirits transaction. There can be no assurance that the revised wine and spirits transaction, the Nobilo transaction, or the Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy transaction will occur or will occur on the terms or timetables contemplated hereby or that Constellation Brands will receive any earnout (contingent consideration).

    In addition to risks and uncertainties associated with ordinary business operations, the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are subject to other risks and uncertainties, including completion of the revised wine and spirits transaction, the Nobilo transaction, and the Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy transaction on the expected terms, conditions, and timetables; regulatory requirements; actual purchase price adjustments and other actual closing adjustments; the actual market performance of brands included in the contingent consideration payment opportunity; the accuracy of all projections; and other factors and uncertainties disclosed from time-to-time in Constellation Brands’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, which could cause actual future performance to differ from current expectations.


  • 29 Jun 2020 5:50 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    There's good news and bad news from the founders of Invisible Urban.

    The Auckland startup has landed tens of millions more worth of contracts in the US and gained backing from one of the biggest names on the American private equity scene.

    But at home, it's just been knocked back by the Green Fund and the PM's office.

    The powers-that-be that are dishing out billions in Covid stimulation money seem tech-averse, according to co-founder Nigel Broomhill. "Digging holes and laying roads is nice and simple," he says.

    When the Herald last caught up with Invisible Urban, in February, it had signed US$22.7 million (NZ$35m) in North American orders for its electric vehicle chargers - which it plans to operate on a pioneering charging-as-a-service model.

    Co-founders Nigel Broomhill and Jake Bezzant were targeting the likes of large property developers, city authorities and hotel chains.

    They had so far landed six anchor clients, including the on-again, off-again Ovation development near Nashville, Tennessee, which include about 130,000sq m of office space, two hotels, plus retail and restaurants over 58ha.

    The idea is that Invisible Urban owns and maintains the EV chargers at a location, monitors usage and adds more if demand dictates, clipping the ticket along the way.

    Its chargers will be contract-manufactured in NZ and the US.

    Broomhill also runs Charge Net, which will sell you an EV charger for your garage, while Bezzant had a four-year stint in charge of Parking Sense USA - the maker of sensors for managing carparks that was founded in the Waikato but made its bones with a monster 21,000-space contract in LA. If his face looks vaguely familiar, it could be because you've seen it on a billboard recently. The blue-green entrepreneur is standing for National in the Upper Harbour seat vacated by Paula Bennett when she went list-only.

    This week, despite the challenges of Covid-19, which has pushed out installations scheduled to start this year, Broomhill updated that Invisible Urban has had two major positive developments in the US.

    One, he says Invisible Urban's number of exclusive car parks has increased from 51,000 to 122,290, with the number of chargers that will be installed rising from 1278 to 3057 - pushing the initial contract value from US$22.7m to US$56.2m (NZ$80m). To put that in context, the contracts now cover five times as many EV chargers as are currently installed in NZ.

    And two, high-profile private equity player Eileen Murray has come aboard as a strategic adviser and minority shareholder.

    Murray was co-CEO of the world's largest hedge fund, the US$160 billion Bridgewater Associates, for the best part of a decade before stepping down in the New Year. She was recently confirmed as chair of Wall Street's latest attempt at a self-regulatory body, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra).

    Knockbacks at home

    The bad news is on the home front: recent approaches to the Prime Minister's office, MBIE and the Green Fund have all been knocked back.

    Broomhill and Bezzant initially focused on North America in part because of its scale (the US has roughly 1 million electric cars next to NZ's 20,000-odd) and partly because of its more EV-friendly regulatory environment. The coal-loving President Trump draws the most headlines, but at the state level, many governments now require 25 per cent of spaces in new carparks to be EV charger-ready. And Bezzant pointed out it was not just the usual suspects like New York and California. Georgia recently implemented a similar initiative. In NZ, new malls still get a token one or two EV slots.

    But with the coronavirus slowdown temporarily putting Invisible Urban's North American plans on hold earlier this year, and the Government asking for Covid stimulus ideas, Broomhill started to think about a plan to bring the company's model to NZ.

    He came up with a business plan to employee 200 people in skilled jobs, paid an average $70,000, to cover the design, manufacturing and installation of EV chargers.

    Broomhill was angling for a government loan of $85m over 10 years. He saw the government making $20m directly over the term of the loan, and much larger indirect benefits as a new industry was created, with export potential, and the potential to boost the so-far-sluggish uptake of EVs in NZ, which would in turn reduce emissions and improve air quality.

    Chicken and egg

    The Crown does have a history of subsidising chargers as part of the EECA's multi-year, $23.8m (and counting) effort to promote EV uptake.

    In an EECA EV round just closed, for example, Foodstuffs received $600,400 toward 15 fast chargers that will be installed at various urban and provincial supermarket carparks in partnership with the privately-held ChargeNet; the Warehouse Group received $265,588 for fast-chargers in eight locations; and ChargeNet also got a total $334,000 toward four new chargers in Taupo, plus chargers in Mokau and Palmerston.

    All up around 600 state-subsidised EV chargers are up and running, from a total of 1000 or so that have been funded.

    But the Government is still a long, long way from its aim to have at least one charging station every 75km. It's a chicken and egg situation. Few chargers and range anxiety slow sales of electric vehicles, and with few EVs on the road, charging network progress is slow.

    Broomhill's idea was that his loan-backed proposal would break that logjam. Or the funds could be used to make hundreds of chargers here for his company's North American contracts.

    He saw various signs of hope, from the thirst for Covid stimulus projects, to the presence of the ( now departed ) Rob Fyfe on the Government's business adviser panel to Invisible Urban's successful start in US and all the bona fides that provides.

    But so far, he's had no luck from his conversations with the Prime Minister's office, and his application to the Green Fund, which has just allocated its first funding, was knocked back.

    The Crown-backed, $100m Green Fund has just announced its first financing: $15m to Wellington's CentrePort for a project to electrify vehicles and generate renewable energy at the capital's main port.

    Broomhill says he sought $20m from the Green Fund, which would have created a new smart industry. "Instead [they think] it's better to provide a Wellington Regional Council-owned company with a $15m loan for something they haven't specced yet," he said.

    (The Herald has asked the the Prime Minister's office for comment. Environment Minister James Shaw declined to comment, saying the Green Fund was independent, and that it was up to the fund to issue any response to its decisions.)

    Green Fund CEO Craig Weise said, "Though we don't comment on the specific details about why we make those choices about any specific opportunity, there are many reasons – fit with our objectives, risk profiles, expected returns, maturity of the company, and other priorities in our pipeline, amongst others – why we would want take an opportunity forward, or not."

    Broomhill said he was not impressed by the general tenor of projects being funded by the Government as part of its billions in Covid-19 stimulus spending, which he sees as too focused on roading.

    "Tech is always a hard one for them to get their heads around. Digging holes and laying roads is nice and simple. Smart infrastructure, it's a bit harder," Broomhill said.

    Rebates required

    Broomhill's criticism came the same day as the Herald spoke to Mercury general manager of retail and digital Kevin Angland, who said his company wanted to more than triple its "Drive" EV leasing programme to more than 200 vehicles.

    However, limited models, and limited stock overall was a problem.

    The Government provides a range of incentives for EV owners, including a temporary break on road user charges. But Angland said there also needed to be a direct incentive, such as the US$7000 rebates offered to EV buyers in various US states.

    The coalition discussed a so-called "feebate" scheme, which would have seen importers of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles levied, to make EVs more attractive by comparison. However, that indirect approach was vetoed by NZ First.

    Angland still saw hope for some form direct rebate, however, depending on the mix of paries in power after September's election.

    Source: Chris Keall

    Business writer, NZ Herald

  • 18 Jun 2020 10:03 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    It gives us great pleasure to announce that Pacific Edge Limited and Kaiser Permanente have reached an agreement for the commercial use of our Cxbladder tests.

    Kaiser Permanente has approved the commercial use of Cxbladder by their urologists for patients being evaluated for bladder cancer.

    Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest non-profit healthcare providers in the US, with over 12 million members. It operates 39 hospitals and employs approximately 23,000 physicians.

    Cxbladder urine sampling systems will be sent directly to Kaiser Permanente patients in their homes for onward delivery to Pacific Edge’s US laboratory in Pennsylvania for analysis and reporting. Kaiser Permanente patients will also have the ability to provide a urine sample at one of the many Kaiser Permanente sample collection clinics for onward delivery to Pacific Edge for analysis and reporting.

    Cxbladder’s ability to provide for the collection of the urine sample in-home will allow Kaiser Permanente patients to be regularly tested for bladder cancer at home and will also enable their physicians to do more patient management using tele-consultation. Based on the test results, many patients will also be able to avoid having any further invasive procedures. This has obvious benefits for patients and also frees up essential healthcare capacity for Kaiser Permanente.

    Kaiser Permanente has previously completed a successful Cxbladder User Programme, including in-home sample collection. The Pacific Edge team has been working with Kaiser Permanente’s staff on the necessary business logistics and the training which will ensure that start-up of commercial tests can occur as expediently as possible.

    CEO of Pacific Edge, David Darling, said: “We are delighted to be working with Kaiser Permanente to implement the delivery of Cxbladder into their patient care program for urology. This outcome highlights Kaiser Permanente’s recognised position as an industry leader in their approach to high-quality healthcare, innovation and value-based medicine.”

    “The clinical utility provided by the Cxbladder in-home sampling programme has also been recognised in both the USA and New Zealand. In New Zealand, three large public healthcare providers have been actively using Cxbladder for in-home sample collection and two public healthcare providers have moved to mainstream commercial use of two Cxbladder products. Remote consultations and the ability for patients to supply Cxbladder test samples from home will help protect patients and frees up essential capacity for healthcare providers around the world, both during the COVID-19 global pandemic and beyond.”


  • 12 Jun 2020 11:29 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Agility CIS accelerates growth in the United States and enters Japanese market by acquiring USA-based Znalytics. Acquisition strengthens Agility’s position as a leading global solution for energy suppliers.

    Agility CIS, a market-leading provider of cloud-based utility billing and customer experience solutions globally, is pleased to announce it has completed the acquisition of United States-based cloud-native energy solutions company, Znalytics. With the addition of Znalytics, Agility strengthens its position in the United States and expands into the recently deregulated Japanese market.

    Agility CIS is a privately held company backed by SilverTree Equity, a London-based software and technology focused private equity firm, and Pioneer Capital, a leading New Zealand private equity firm.

    “Znalytics is a fast-growing business with a cloud-native platform and a strong delivery capability,” said David Forsyth, CEO of Agility. “We are excited to bring Agility and Znalytics together - the combination will accelerate our product development roadmap and expand our global opportunities.

    “The addition of Znalytics to the Agility group significantly grows our business footprint in the United States and opens up the attractive Japanese market, which is the world’s largest deregulated energy market, to complement our existing strong market positions in Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East.”

    Mr Forsyth said the acquisition enhances Agility’s product offering with new energy Internet of Things solutions and provides Agility with strengthened delivery capability to manage large, complex migrations and implementations through a best-in-class global delivery model that combines local resources with those from Znalytics’ experienced delivery team in Hyderabad, India.

    “By leveraging our collective capabilities, our valued clients will also benefit from accelerated development of exceptional cloud billing and customer experience solutions that help their businesses thrive in competitive, fast-moving utility markets.”

    Mr Forsyth said the Founders of Znalytics, CEO Mari Reddy and President Subash Sama, are continuing with the company post acquisition and will lead the business in the United States and Japan. Agility intends to retain the Znalytics brand in association with the Agility brand to drive growth in those markets.

    “Mari, Subash and their colleagues bring deep utilities and software expertise and complementary skills to Agility’s existing leadership. We are thrilled they are joining Agility’s global team.”

    Founded just over five years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, Znalytics is a fast-growing, SaaS company servicing utility retailer clients across the United States and Japan. The acquisition brings together Znalytics’ next generation, cloud-native retail energy solutions for the United States and Japanese markets with the strength of Agility’s robust utility billing software solutions globally. It also has a significant developer-focused team based in Hyderabad, India. Together, the company’s operations will span the globe with offices in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, India and the Middle East.

    Nicholas Theuerkauf, the Managing Partner of SilverTree Equity, added: “Znalytics is highly complementary – the acquisition aligns with Agility’s strategy to significantly accelerate growth in the United States, focus on SaaS solutions, and enter attractive new markets.  The acquisition also underscores SilverTree’s commitment to strengthening Agility’s industry leadership position both organically and through acquisition.”

    The United States and Japanese markets represent excellent growth opportunities for Agility, as ongoing deregulation encourages new energy retailers to enter the market as well as existing retailers to expand into new geographies. Japan is now the world’s largest deregulated energy market, with over 100 million customer meters and approximately 600 retail energy providers now active.

    About Znalytics

    Znalytics was founded in November 2014 by CEO Mari Reddy and President Subash Sama, who head a leadership team with over 100 years of combined experience in the retail energy industry. Znalytics supports retail energy providers with a range of SaaS solutions including billing, customer enrolment, custom pricing and reporting/analytics. Znalytics’ market-leading cloud-native billing solution leverages modern cloud technology with a range of features that provide superior scalability, security and performance to drive efficiencies for its clients. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Znalytics employs approximately 75 people across customer service and sales offices in Atlanta and Tokyo (Japan) as well as a delivery centre in Hyderabad (India). For more information please visit

    About SilverTree Equity

    SilverTree Equity is a sector specialist private equity firm. SilverTree invests exclusively in software, technology, and technology-enabled businesses. The firm is differentiated by its focus on value creation, sector specialism, and a deep network of operational resources and industry relationships. The SilverTree team has successfully completed or been involved in over 50 transactions. For more information, please visit

    About Pioneer Capital

    Pioneer Capital is one of New Zealand’s leading private equity firms. The firm has invested in more than 20 companies and made over 16 bolt-on acquisitions with a focus on accelerating growth via international expansion. Pioneer has a track record of partnering with owners and managers to build sustainable value. Pioneer Capital is based in Auckland and manages capital on behalf of some of New Zealand’s leading institutional and private investors. For more information, please visit


  • 10 Jun 2020 7:11 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    In these troubling times, it is great for the New Zealand economy post-covid to have some good news regarding a Kiwi tech company succeeding in the USA .

    New Zealand health and safety tech company Jupl has secured a supply agreement with United Efficiency USA, an AT&T partner.

    United Efficiency provides remote medical consultancy services and patient monitoring and emergency response services throughout the United States.

    Jupl co–founder Alan Brannigan says they have a well-established presence in the Australasian aged care sector, but this US partnership marks a new chapter in the company’s history which sees us them going global.

    “What makes this deal special is that not only did we beat other competitors, but we demonstrated that we have a stand-up health and safety platform in the USA which can be managed from Auckland, New Zealand.”

    The United Efficiency and AT&T partnerships provides Jupl with the opportunity to market its leading-edge mobile tracking, monitoring and personal emergency response products to a wider range of customers.

    This includes aged care providers, lone workers, banks (mobile lending), hospitality and retail industry personal security solutions, and of course frontline healthcare workers.

    Jupl co-founder Sir Ray Avery says he is proud of what the Jupl team has achieved in securing the US deal.

    “With the Jupl cloud-based monitoring system, we can track people’s movements 24/7 and remotely change the reporting and communication lines in real time to suit individual customers requirements.

    “For example, with respect to the covid-19 pandemic, if we could get a large percentage of any population to download the Jupl mobile app then we could track and trace not only individuals movements, but the contacts that they were exposed to and the duration of that exposure.

    “We would then have a much better idea of how the covid virus is transmitted. This could be particularly important with respect to monitoring the infection rates among first responders and hospital caregivers.

    Brannigan says there has been a lot of interest in the Jupl mobile app and Jupl watch following on from the covid crisis.

    “People want to check where their loved ones are and follow their movements in real time and know that they are safe. It’s great in these challenging times to be making products to help others stay in touch and know that they can get help at the press of a button.”

    Sir Ray Avery says the US will benefit from their Jupl technology in this difficult time and improve healthcare outcomes and track and trace capabilities not just during the pandemic but way into the future.
  • 05 Jun 2020 2:20 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Hon Ron Mark

    The Coalition Government has confirmed five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft will be purchased to replace the existing fleet, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. 

    “Last year, Cabinet selected these aircraft as the preferred option to replace the current Hercules fleet. Procurement of the Super Hercules has been my highest capability priority as Minister of Defence,” Ron Mark said.

    “Along with the new fleet, the $1.521 billion project will deliver a full mission flight simulator and other supporting infrastructure.

    “Generations of New Zealanders have grown up and grown old with the Hercules, and they know these aircraft are an essential first line of response. This decision ensures the Defence Force will have the capability it needs to meet expected future tasks.

    “This fleet will ensure the Defence Force can continue to support New Zealand’s community resilience, our national security, our contribution to our Pacific neighbours and the wider global community.

    “This decision ensures tactical airlift will remain available to undertake operations in New Zealand’s immediate region, as well as support our interests in Antarctica, often in support of other government agencies.

    “The new aircraft will carry a greater payload, is faster and can travel further than the current Hercules aircraft. 

    “Each aircraft will also be fitted with additional specialist capabilities, including a wide bandwidth, high speed satellite communications system and an electro-optical/infra-red camera.

    “This equipment will make our new Super Hercules among the most capable in the world. The satellite communications system will allow imagery, video and data to be streamed in real time, and the camera allows for aerial surveillance, including at the same time as the aircraft is undertaking transport tasks, particularly useful on humanitarian and disaster relief operations and search and rescue missions.”

    The aircraft and simulator are being acquired through the United States’ Foreign Military Sales process as part of a package that includes aircrew and maintainer training.

    “As with our decision to acquire the P-8A Poseidon fleet through the Foreign Military Sales process, this has reduced costs and allows collaboration with other nations on developments and system upgrades that will be necessary over the life of the aircraft,” Ron Mark said.

    “The first of the new Hercules will be delivered in 2024, with the full fleet operating from 2025, allowing for a phased retirement of the current fleet.

    “The flight simulator will help us to build and maintain crew skills, and allow more demanding training scenarios to be attempted without risk to personnel, and while preserving flight hours for operational tasks.”

    In addition, the Coalition Government has also approved $21 million to upgrade systems in the Air Force NH90 helicopters to comply with regulatory and operational requirements. 

    “This investment, building on the first tranche announced last year, will ensure that the New Zealand Defence Force’s aircraft are fitted with updated communication, navigation, air traffic management and identification systems,” Ron Mark said.

    “The upgrade of the NH90 will be undertaken in cooperation with a number of other nations who operate these helicopters including Australia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Italy, France, and Norway.

    “This will provide us with an opportunity to share development costs amongst all participating nations, which means this approach is less expensive and risky than pursuing a bespoke solution.

    “Without upgrading these systems the NZDF aircraft may be restricted in operations in both controlled civil and military airspace. Funding for this project will be provided for from NZDF baselines,” Ron Mark said.


    Work is expected to be initiated in 2021 on the second phase of upgrading New Zealand’s air mobility capability, when options will be considered for replacing the two Boeing 757 aircraft operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

    These are expected to reach their end of service life towards the end of this decade.

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  • 04 Jun 2020 9:19 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    NZX-listed Foley Wines plans to build a two-level multimillion-dollar development in Martinborough where more than 20 people will work in a Californian-style venture backed by American billionaire Bill Foley.

    Its brands - Te Kairanga, Martinborough Vineyard and Lighthouse Gin - will get a new home and the project will include a restaurant, private dining, tasting room, underground barrel hall and distillery.

    Chief executive Mark Turnbull said the business had been working on the concept for the past two years. The Te Kairanga winery on Martins Rd will be redeveloped, an old winery building will be removed "and this new purpose-built facility will go up".

    "It's a big building in the Wairarapa. It will employ a lot of people. There's a few drivers: underground will be an area where the wine barrels will be stored and we just need more storage facility," he said.

    "Wine tourism has been a growth category in New Zealand and around the world. Clearly there's going to be a subdued period, but given the project will take around 18 months, we feel we will be well placed when international tourism returns," Turnbull said.

    The restaurant will seat 100 people but with further capacity in a private dining room and outdoor terrace. Weddings will also be hosted. A tasting room and guided tours are also planned. The underground barrel hall will meet the growing needs of the Te Kairanga Winery on the same property, the company said.

    Lighthouse Gin's new distillery within the development will give it the space and design to meet demand, with a custom-built copper still commissioned from German distillery manufacturer CARL.

    "Lighthouse Gin is really taking off so we're contracting one of the leading still makers, which is a 12-month project on its own," Turnbull said.

    Visitors will be able to see the distiller at work, Foley Wines said.

    "We really wanted to establish a place where people can see the brands and taste the products. We know from Mt Difficulty, which has a strong brand, that so many people have been to the Central Otago vineyard and experienced it," Turnbull said.

    "The more we build the brand, the more people we'll get. There are so many people in Wellington and it's only an hour away," Turnbull said.

    The construction contract is yet to be let so he was reluctant to put a figure on the cost.

    "We've got resource consent, so we're working on the detailed working drawings," Turnbull said.

    Architect Charlie Nott designed the new building project. He has also worked on Depot Eatery, Best Ugly Bagels and the Amisfield Winery, Foley Wines said.

    Chairman Foley said: "I have always been passionate about the Wairarapa in terms of the exceptional wines we produce but also its tourism. My family continues to invest in Wharekauhau Country Estate, the Lodge we personally own in the region. I believe investment at Te Kairanga will benefit our brands incredibly but also the broader economy in the greater Wellington region."

    South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen welcomed the investment.

    By: Anne Gibson

    Property editor, NZ Herald

  • 30 May 2020 10:48 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Fonterra farmers, factory workers, teams from the US and even some of the crew at Air New Zealand have been doing their bit to help patients in the US who are suffering from COVID-19.

    Hydrolysates, a fast absorbing whey protein used to make high protein beverages that are easy for patients to drink or provide nutrition to those who are intubated, have been in high demand since COVID-19 was detected in the United States.

    One of Fonterra’s customers, a medical nutrition company, is playing a predominant role in the COVID-19 response and came to the Co-operative with an urgent request for more hydrolysates to help provide nutrition to patients.

    “We’ve worked with this customer for more than 20 years now, we’ve got a good relationship with them – they know when they need to pull a rabbit out of the hat and we’re the magicians that can make it happen” says US based Global Account Director Andrew Maude.

    When the team at the site received the order Hautapu and Tirau Site Manager Shane Harris says it was a staggering amount, but a challenge that the team were up for, extending the production season for another month.

    “It was about 15% of what we would normally produce in a whole season and they wanted it yesterday, but in true Hautapu style the team rose to the challenge and got to work.

    Given the criticality of getting the product to the US the logistics teams worked with Air New Zealand to charter a special flight direct to Chicago to get the product to the customer as quickly as possible.



  • 29 May 2020 10:40 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Two American film studios are eyeing south Auckland sites at an $800 million land development project being sold by the richlister Stevenson family.

    Stephen Hughes, chief executive of the 362ha Drury South Crossing development, said the United States-based businesses had shown an interest in the location which he said were suitable for their requirements to build vast new production studios.

    "They'd make movies there. They've been looking at options in the Auckland area," Hughes said, adding the studios had been introduced to the project he runs via real estate agents they had contacted here.

    "My understand is that they need large warehouse-type facilities to build their sets and also potentially there's the benefit in being close to various locations," he said, referring to rural ranges as well as staff, contractors and Auckland Airport. "They need it to be accessible."

    New Zealand offers generous tax breaks for money spent on big Hollywood productions.

    Amazon Studios was making The Lord of The Rings television series in New Zealand before the pandemic when production was interrupted. That US studios was filming in Auckland, arriving after months of discussions with the Government, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and the New Zealand Film Commission.

    After a post-Lord Of The Rings lull, our film studios had been beset by American streaming platforms and silver screen production companies, mostly making fantasy and sci-fi.

    But the pandemic has had a big effect on production and the Herald has also reported how the once-sunny $3.2 billion screen sector, which provided nearly 30,000 jobs here, was suddenly in the grip of its longest winter.

    Fallout from Covid-19 had suspended big-ticket international productions indefinitely and forced our suddenly-amputated local industry to grapple with filming in an age of social distancing.

    Yet Hughes remains confident about possible land sales to the US studios and other businesses.

    "You could possibly end up with more than one film studio at Drury. These were inquiries made before the Covid-19 environment and the challenge is how we can safely enable them to get here."

    Others to buy sites at the land development were food supply businesses, local engineering manufacturers, importers, logistics and warehouse businesses, Hughes said. But he refused to name one, saying all deals were subject to confidentiality agreements.

    So far, around 35ha of sites have been sold for more than $100m, he said.

    The National Business Review this year estimated the Stevenson family had a $350m fortune from construction and property. It noted the group's most recent large project is the Drury South Crossing, an $800m, 361ha business park development, building on the land, between the Drury quarry and the Southern Motorway.

    Hughes said a two-lane bridge of about 100m had cost $10m to build and was fully funded by Drury South Crossing. That traversed the Hingaia stream.

    The project is near the Drury Quarry, owned and operated by the family-owned Stevenson Group since 1939 but sold recently to Fulton Hogan. Drury South Crossing project does not involve expanding the quarry zone.

    Hughes said about 6000 people could work on the land once it was developed. The first building is due to rise there next year and international investors are being lured.

    "There are relatively few sites left in the Auckland region which can accommodate this scale of operation and it has been encouraging to see that local and international businesses are looking to invest at this level which will be an essential part of the region's economic recovery," Hughes said today.

    Hughes said a clear re-entry pathway into the country was needed for multinational businesses and he sees the pandemic as an opportunity.

    "This is one of the few times in our history where our geographic isolation is a clear competitive advantage and we are going to need more than international students and tourists to restart the economy," he said.

    "As a nation we need to create new infrastructure and manufacturing opportunities to provide New Zealanders with some control and certainty over their future. We have multinational executives queuing at the country's door to develop new operations and jobs here. Unfortunately, there is only so much we can do over email and Zoom calls before they need to physically visit the site of their future investment," he said.

    Read more

    By: Anne Gibson
    Property editor, NZ Herald

  • 29 May 2020 10:34 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Palmerston North's Frogparking was knocked back by the coronavirus lockdowns, like most companies. It claimed $160,000 in wage subsidies during the lull.

    But it's also set to power out of the period, having signed three major deals for its carpark management technology during the layover.

    Collectively, the three multi-year contracts are worth more than $10 million, managing director Shareena Sandbrook says.

    One is for the giant City of Hope Medical Centre near Los Angeles, involving around 6500 parking spaces.

    A second is for the Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne - which claims to be the Southern Hemisphere's largest mall operation with its A$1.2 billion annual turnover and more than 10,000 parking bays catering to up to 70,000 shoppers per day.

    The third is the Central Coast Council in New South Wales, covering a vast swathe of territory north of Sydney.

    How do you land deals during a downturn?

    Shareena, who co-founded Frogparking with her father, entrepreneur Don Sandbrook (a director and major shareholder), says her company did not let any staff go during the level 4 and level 3 lockdowns. In fact, it took on a couple, boosting its tally to 47 as it brought in a couple of salespeople from faltering competitors in the United States.

    And, notably, Frogparking didn't just see white-collar laptop jockeys working from home. Sandbrook says "Lots of workshop staff took tools and equipment home, too." Garages became makeshift product-development labs for new hardware, helping with the push to win new sales.

    Many Aucklanders will have first encountered Frogparking when it installed sensors and lights (green for empty, red for full) above park indoor parking bays at anchor customer Auckland Airport.

    Offshore success followed. On the back of a successful pilot showcasing its technology at UCLA (the University of California, Los Angeles), Frogparking also landed Disney and Irvine (which bills itself as one of the largest mall operators in California) as customers.

    And the technology has evolved along the way. Frogparking's wireless parking-bay sensors now feed information to a cloud dashboard that parking owners can use to nudge pricing up or down, depending on demand, while on the consumer side of things, Frogparking's app can be used to find and pay for a spot.

    Read more

    By: Chris Keall
    Business writer, NZ Herald