Ziwi Wins Exporter of the Year Award

A Chinese private equity firm is reportedly buying Ziwi, a New Zealand-based pet food company with U.S. headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.

FountainVest Partners has agreed to buy the company in a deal “that would value closely-held Ziwi at about NZ$1.5 billion ($1.06 billion), according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified,” Bloomberg News reported.

According to a press release on Scoop, a New Zealand-based independent news website, “the shareholders of Ziwi … have signed a Sale and Purchase agreement with FountainVest Partners.”

In a statement, Richard Lawrence, Ziwi’s managing director, said, “the agreement is about delivering sustainable long-term growth, and this can best be achieved with future access to capital and global market intelligence, which FountainVest Partners is able to provide.

“This partnership is about maintaining Ziwi’s high-quality standards and natural New Zealand-sourced approach to pet nutrition, while serving more pet guardians worldwide,” he said.

“This signing is an important milestone in ZIWI’s bold global growth ambitions, which was envisioned when it launched in 2004,” Lawrence added.

“During the course of our discussions it became clear that Ziwi and FountainVest share similar core values of teamwork, integrity and entrepreneurship, which are fundamental to any successful business partnership.”

“It will be business as usual for Ziwi staff,” Lawrence added. “This investment will build on the current team’s successful strategy and plan to meet strong global demand for Ziwi’s product range, with new jobs and exciting career opportunities to be created in New Zealand and internationally over the long term. The management team will continue to lead the business, with executive management reinvesting back into the business.

“Ziwi’s customers worldwide value our use of high-quality New Zealand-sourced ingredients, and we remain committed to New Zealand being the home of our production kitchens,” Lawrence said.

The signed sale and purchase agreement is conditional on New Zealand Government approval, the press release said.

For more of PPN’s coverage of pet industry mergers and acquisitions, read: