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Genesis Private Equity’s Bold Horticulture Move

Genesis Private Equity (GPE) has finalised and funded a major two-part deal which makes it one of New Zealand’s largest suppliers of specialist fruit trees and the largest shareholder in commercial IP company, New Zealand Fruit Tree Company (NZFTC).

With the ink barely dry on the deal, Ashburton-based GPE is actively looking for its next horticulture opportunity.

Genesis purchased McGrath Nurseries, one of New Zealand’s largest and most successful fruit tree nurseries, from founder Andy McGrath in 2019. The Cambridge business, now renamed Genesis Nurseries, is a major supplier of apple, cherry and summerfruit trees to commercial growers all around the country.

Genesis Nurseries has now purchased Pattullo’s Nurseries in the Hawkes Bay, a family-owned business that has supplied quality fruit trees to the New Zealand pip and stone fruit industry for more than 60 years. The purchase joins two of New Zealand’s leading fruit tree nurseries and provides orchardists around the country with a range and combination of rootstock and plant varieties never before available in New Zealand.

The deal was managed, negotiated and funded by Genesis Private Equity (GPE).

“It is an exciting development which will benefit the whole horticulture sector,” says GPE Executive Partner, Leandra Fitzgibbon.

“From our perspective, it means Genesis Nurseries can mitigate climate, staffing, production and location risks by having nurseries in Cambridge and the Hawkes Bay.”

The second part of the deal is acquisition of ~ 38% shareholding in NZFTC by a Genesis entity – GPE Nurseries Limited Partnership. NZFTC is a specialist IP company, New Zealand’s largest private importer of commercial fruit tree varieties, and represents many major plant breeding programmes.

The offer to invest in this unique horticulture opportunity closed several weeks ago and was oversubscribed.

“These investments highlight our involvement and support of New Zealand’s growing horticulture industry and are a significant cornerstone investment for GPE,” says Leandra Fitzgibbon.

Genesis bought Pattullo’s Nurseries and the NZFTC shares from Kerry Sixtus, one of the founders of NZFTC. The other two NZFTC shareholdings are held by Market Gardeners Ltd and Johnny Appleseed Holdings Ltd (marketers and growers respectively).

GPE’s two-part deal is consistent with its strategy of targeting succession and expansion opportunities in small to medium-sized businesses.

“We are actively looking for other investment opportunities, particularly in the horticulture sector,” Leandra Fitzgibbons says.

“We would like to explore other complementary vertical integration opportunities and we are interested in innovation and technology within the industry.

“All our current funds are closed but we are working through a strategy that may lead to another fund or to one -off investment opportunities in the near future.”

About Genesis Private Equity

  • South Island-based Genesis Private Equity (GPE) was established in 2015 to invest capital and governance expertise into small to medium-sized private companies identified as having significant growth potential.
  • The company targets opportunities arising from succession or expansion in small to medium-sized organisations.
  • GPE was founded by Kieran O’Hagan and Nathan Mills. Leandra Fitzgibbon joined Genesis in 2018.
  • It is the only South Island private equity company offering investments through portfolios of private companies to wholesale investors.
  • GPE has ~ $55 million under management.
  • Its first partnership closed in 2016 after raising $11.875 million and invested in Ask Holdings, TracMap Holdings, Bachcare, Freedom Internet and McGrath Nurseries.
  • The second partnership closed in 2018 after raising $12.56 million and invested in a debt instrument, Invivo & Co, and McGrath Nurseries. This second fund still has 30% to allocate.

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