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Manuka honey business abuzz with activity

17 February 2016

Manuka honey business abuzz with activity

Competition is hotting up among exporters to secure access to precious manuka honey supply, reports KPMG New Zealand.

Keith Richards, from KPMG’s Hamilton office, says high export returns and a limited supply of precious manuka honey is driving a “scramble” to secure access to both hives and manuka-producing land.

“Manuka honey is a fairly scarce commodity, and the issue that many processors and exporters are facing is the ability to guarantee their supply,” he says.

“As they compete to secure that access, we’re seeing more transaction activity and consolidation within the sector. For instance, KPMG has recently facilitated the sale of a successful Waikato based honey producer to a leading processor and exporter.”

According to MPI figures, the 2014/2015 season produced another record honey crop, at an estimated 19,700 tonnes. The value of New Zealand’s pure honey exports also increased. In the past season, honey export volumes to China were six-times that of 2011/12.

Keith Richards says the buoyant market also has implications for both land-owners, and the bee-keepers who have access to their manuka-producing land. There are approximately 5,550 ‘registered bee-keeping enterprises’ in New Zealand.

“The access to land has traditionally been done on a handshake or word of mouth…but I think we are starting to see a trend towards more formalised contracts.”

Ian Proudfoot, KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, says the honey sector - and Manuka honey in particular - is one of the stand-out successes of New Zealand’s primary sector in the last few years.

“With consumers focused on the integrity of the products they eat and seeking foods with proven health benefits, we expect to see both volumes the honey sector produces and export earnings to continue to grow strongly”.

Keith Richards recently led a KPMG team that assisted husband-and-wife beekeepers, Adrian and Lania Pohio, to sell their business to a large New Zealand processor and exporter. Based in Cambridge, Nature’s Country Gold was founded by Adrian and Lania Pohio in 2005 with 120 hives.

“Being an international firm, KPMG has access to the larger players that were in a position to purchase a business such as ours,” says Lania Pohio.

The purchaser, Manuka Health NZ Ltd, distributes to more than 45 countries, and was acquired by Pacific Equity Partners in December 2015.

Manuka Health has retained beekeeper Adrian Pohio to continue with the business as a consultant; and the couple say they were “extremely satisfied” with the outcome achieved.

Ends

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