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Veritas Investments to buy upmarket Nosh supermarket chain

Veritas Investments to buy upmarket Nosh supermarket chain

By Suze Metherell

Aug. 29 (BusinessDesk) - Veritas Investments, which owns the Mad Butcher franchise business, has entered into a conditional agreement to buy the gourmet-supermarket chain, Nosh Food Market from Nosh Management for an undisclosed sum.

The Auckland-based company said the acquisition will be funded by a facility of up to $5 million with ANZ Bank, without disclosing the purchase price saying it was "confidential and is not material". Nosh earns annual revenue of $25 million from its six Auckland region stores and one Mount Maunganui outlet, Veritas said. It employs 130 staff, who have all been offered ongoing employment as part of the contract.

The acquisition is conditional on Nosh Management shareholder approval at a special meeting, though Paul Lucas, who has an 88 percent stake in Nosh Management, will vote in favour, Veritas said. The deal also requires supplier and landlord consent.

This is the third acquisition for Veritas in the past 16 months, after it bought the Mad Butcher business in May 2013 in what was effectively a reverse listing, having sold its assets and returned capital to shareholders. The NZX-listed investment company, which focuses on the food and beverages sector, bought half of Kiwi Pacific Foods in December for $2.8 million in cash and $400,000 in shares at $1.38 apiece, with potential earn-outs if certain export targets are met. The remainder of the business is owned by Antares Restaurant Group, which holds the New Zealand Burger King franchise.

Earlier this week Veritas reported annual profit rose to $4.3 million in the year ended June 30, from a loss of $847,000 a year earlier, as Kiwi Pacific Foods made up for slower than expected sales at the butchery business. It declared a final dividend of 4.22 cents, bringing the full year payout to 8.16 cents per share, with a record date for the final dividend on Sept. 12 and payment on Sept. 26.

Shares of the company rose 3.7 percent to $1.12, and have fallen some 19.4 percent the past year.


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