Sale ensures retention of jobs within the region and realisation of commercial value of seafood assets
[Nelson] Food and beverage company Kono NZ, an associated business of Wakatū Incorporation, has announced the asset sale of its Marlborough-based seafood business, Kono Seafood, to Talley’s Ltd.
Kono Seafood produces and exports Kono New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussels and employs around 300 staff across its three New Zealand sites in Blenheim, Golden Bay, and Havelock.
Securing employment opportunities for affected staff beyond the sale was a key factor in the Wakatū approach, and Kono NZ Chief Operating Officer Andy Wotton said the organisation was working closely with Talley’s to ensure employees were offered roles.
“We’re really pleased that Talley’s will take on the overwhelming majority of our valued staff and that the roles will stay within the region. Talley’s is a leading player in the industry and they’re firmly committed to this area and its long-term development.”
Forecast for completion on 22 May this year, the sale of the seafood assets forms part of a wider strategic reset for Wakatū, to ensure its portfolio of businesses align more closely with its 500-year vision Te Pae Tawhiti and put Wakatū in a strong position for the future.
“Our core purpose is inter-generational – to protect and enhance our taonga, for the benefit of current and future generations. As part of that goal, the different parts of our business will change and evolve over time, but our purpose remains the same. To care for and ensure the protection of our whenua through the generations, and to develop the capability of our whānau – from both a cultural and commercial perspective.
“Not only does the timing of this sale allow us to put our people in the position to secure ongoing employment with a well-known and experienced operator in the region, but we are also able to realise the value of our significant seafood asset, positioning us well for the future.”
Talley’s CEO Tony Hazlett says he is pleased to welcome the Kono team into Talley’s, recognising the commitment both organisations have to the region.
Hazlett says: “With national and global demand for Greenshell™ Mussels, we were looking at how to meet that demand through our state-of-the-art Blenheim-based mussel plant, which can have up to 450 staff working there on four product lines.
“With capacity at our mussel facilities we are thrilled this deal with Kono will enable us to employ hundreds of skilled local people, keeping them in our region. We have created more than 250 roles for Kono seafood staff. As well as Blenheim, we also have opportunities for people to work with us in Havelock, Motueka and Golden Bay, and potentially in other parts of our food business as well.”
Kono and Talley’s will be working together to ensure continuity for people, suppliers and customers throughout the sale process and beyond.
The sale of Kono Seafood does not impact other Kono businesses. Kono Horticulture, Hop Federation and Tohu wines continue to operate as usual.
About Kono NZ
Established in 2011, Kono NZ exports food and beverages around the world. Its formation consolidated all the food and beverage businesses of Wakatū Incorporation into one entity.
About Wakatū Incorporation
Wakatū Incorporation is a significant Māori-owned organisation based in Nelson. It operates a range of food, beverage, property and wellbeing businesses through Kono, Whenua and AuOra, as well as charitable activities via its cultural arm, Manaaki.
Owned by over 4,000 Māori shareholders who descend from Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa, Wakatū Incorporation was established in 1977. With a significant asset base, it has become one of the largest private landowners in the Nelson and Tasman region and has continued to make a positive contribution across the region, playing a pivotal role in building economic capability and uplifting local communities.
About Talley’s Ltd
Talley’s Ltd is a locally-owned business that has been based in Nelson Tasman since 1936. The company produces a range of seafood, vegetable and ice cream products that are sold around the world. Its mussel business started in the 1960s in Motueka. An additional mussel processing plant was built in Blenheim in the mid-1990s and was then extended to accommodate additional products in 2018 and again in 2021. The company also has on-water mussel operations around the South Island.
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