Dairy fund takes stake in Lewis Road to support NZ, international expansion
By Sophie Boot
Oct. 24 (BusinessDesk) - Dairy farming investment fund Southern Pastures has taken an undisclosed but significant stake in Lewis Road Creamery, with executive chairman Prem Maan set to join the Lewis Road board.
The investment "will enable further expansion of Lewis Road’s popular product portfolio in New Zealand, and support the company’s push towards exporting to lucrative overseas markets", Lewis Road said in a statement. Founder and chief executive Peter Cullinane will remain the company's largest shareholder.
The premium dairy company launched in 2012, and sells butter, unflavoured and flavoured milk, ice cream, bread and liqueur. Earlier this year, it settled a branding dispute with Fonterra over that company's Kapiti milk bottles, with Kapiti rebranding after Lewis Road threatened legal action.
Cullinane said Southern Pastures, as a cornerstone investor, would help in its drive to expand within New Zealand and abroad. The investment fund shares its view that "the future of New Zealand dairy lies in quality not quantity", he said.
Southern Pastures’ Prem Maan said the fund saw considerable potential for premium dairy products from New Zealand’s free-range, grass-fed dairy farming systems. The fund has previously invested in 19 dairy operations and one beekeeping business.
"Lewis Road has become the premium dairy brand in New Zealand and we expect that, with our support, Peter and his team will be able to develop more exciting products and investigate potential offshore markets for expansion," Maan said. "There is no intention to change any staffing, operational or commercial arrangements at Lewis Road. Southern Pastures will play the role of a supportive and constructive long-term shareholder fostering innovation and expansion."