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Seeka commits to a new HQ

Seeka commits to a new HQ and major infrastructure development to handle growing kiwifruit processing demand

TE PUKE, 7 March, 2016 - Seeka Kiwifruit Industries (NZX-SEK) will move into its new headquarters in Te Puke by the middle of this year and plans to make it a centre of excellence for its produce and grower-focused business, says Chief Executive Michael Franks.

“Our new HQ will reflect our focus on the crops we and our growers produce, and the harvest and post-harvest value chain,” said Mr Franks.

The move is part of this year’s planned capital expenditure of $20 million to develop new infrastructure to handle increasing kiwifruit volumes.

Seeka has also begun a rebranding exercise with renowned Australian Brand Scientist Peter Singline, with the launch expected to coincide with the move to the new head office.

The 3,000 sq m headquarters will be located on the 7.4 hectare site Seeka bought in Te Puke late last year, together with an adjoining 5.4 hectare kiwifruit orchard. In April Seeka will take over and begin converting the building previously occupied by Kiwi360 into the company’s new head office.

As part of its capacity planning, Seeka has also acquired an additional 1.1 hectares adjacent to the existing Te Puke KKP Packhouse for coolstore expansion. Construction is already underway for 1.02 million trays of static cool storage at the KKP site, as well as new daily pre-cooling capacity of 70,000 trays. The build effectively doubles the onsite cool storage at KKP and will include changes to improve the flow of trucks onto and off the site.

Seeka is also adding 528,000 trays of static cool storage and 50,000 trays of pre-cooling storage on land at the rear of its Katikati site. Trucking onsite will be changed to take advantage of new loadout areas, which include new container docking facilities.

The Oakside site is now fully reinstated after the March 2015 fire and included in that rebuild has been the installation of water storage of 280,000 litres to mitigate fire risk.

Seeka is expecting to pack 28.2 million class 1 trays in the coming season, up on the 27.5 million trays last year and is planning for long-term growth. This season the company expects to employ more than 3,500 seasonal workers, in addition to its 245 permanent staff.

The company has purchased an additional 11,000 plastic Surestore bins, bringing the total to 17,000. Seeka’s Oakside operations in Te Puke will become 100 per cent plastic, with a further 6,000 plastic bins deployed at Huka Pack in Tauranga.

The plastic bins are stronger, safer to handle, easier to clean than wood, and lighter.

“They have helped improve the quality of harvested fruit,” said Simon Wells, Seeka General Manager Growers. “We are well on our way to having 100 per cent of our bins plastic within three years, which will enhance fruit handling and storage.”

ENDS

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