Tip Top sold to overseas company Froneri

Fonterra has confirmed it's selling ice cream company Tip Top to a foreign company.

The dairy giant said on Monday UK-based Froneri, owned by Nestle and R&R Ice Cream, has bought the company for $380 million.

Fonterra will continue to supply the milk used in the ice cream, and will retain ownership of the Kāpiti brand.

"One of the big attractions for Froneri is the fact that Tip Top and Kāpiti ice cream both use fresh milk and cream, from New Zealand grass-fed cows," Fonterra  CEO Miles Hurrell said.

"We've signed an agreement with the new owners to supply milk which ensures that Fonterra farmers will continue to be part of the Tip Top story.

"We will also retain full global ownership of the Kāpiti brand and will be licencing its use for ice cream to Froneri. This means our popular Kāpiti cheese isn't going anywhere."

Reports surfaced last week TipTop was close to being sold to a foriegn buyer. Farmers have long criticised the move, one even starting a petition to stop it.

"Tip Top is a brand that a lot of Kiwis know and trust, and farmers want it owned by New Zealand farmers and just keep that strong link from farm to freezer," Fonterra farmer and petition starter Mathew Herbert said in December.

Froneri CEO Ibrahim Najafi said the company will roll out TipTop ice cream to new markets.

"We have always admired Tip Top, which is an iconic brand in New Zealand with a long proud history and we are looking forward to welcoming the team into Froneri.

"Our vision is to build the world's best ice cream company; an important part of our strategy is to develop local market successes and roll them out across our other markets."

Production will stay at TipTop's factory in Mt Wellington, Auckland, and the current management team will stay on.