NZ food firms quarter owned by foreigners

  • 25/11/2015

By Fiona Rotherham

A Government-commissioned report aimed at attracting more investment into New Zealand's growing food and beverage sector says about a quarter of the sector is already foreign-owned.

The Investors' Guide to the New Zealand Food and Beverage Industry, by Auckland research firm Coriolis, says food and beverage (F&B) exports account for 46 per cent of all goods and services exports - $30.7 billion of the $66.2 billion total in 2014.

New Zealand is the world's largest exporter of dairy products and lamb and a major exporter of beef, kiwifruit, apples and seafood.

Food and beverage plays a big part in two of the government's core targets - to boost exports to 40 percent of gross domestic product by 2025 and increase foreign direct investment to all parts of New Zealand by $5b over the next three years. It wants to triple F&B exports over the next 15 years.

The report says the case for investment in New Zealand's F&B sector includes a high number of free trade agreements, growing export share and value to Asia, a strong core of exports and a wide range of emerging categories.

The top 100 F&B firms in New Zealand have combined revenues of $51.5b, with seven dairy companies accounting for around half of that.

The biggest five F&B firms by annual sales are Fonterra Cooperative Group, Silver Fern Farms, Talley's Group, Alliance Group, and Anzco Foods.

Of those 100 firms, 76 percent is New Zealand-owned and the remainder foreign controlled.

Ownership comes from a broad range of countries with the top three - Japan, the US, and Australia. China accounts for just 4 percent of the industry's foreign ownership.