Nestlé sets sights on kiwi expansion with $375m purchase

GO Healthy among the brands acquired by Nestlé Health Science

The Overseas Investment Office has revealed that Nestlé Health Science has paid $375 million to purchase Auckland supplement firm The Better Health Company.

According to the National Business Review, Nestlé has been making a number of purchases this year of businesses centred on health and wellness but this was its first in this region- and it is not expected to be the last.

When the deal was announced in June this year, Jennifer Chappell, the CEO of Nestlé’s business in New Zealand, said it would strengthen its presence not just in New Zealand but more broadly across the region.

Swiss-owned Nestlé Health Science has acquired The Better Health Company in its entirety, the NBR reports.

TBHC is the parent company of the GO Healthy brand, one of New Zealand’s largest vitamin and mineral supplement brands; Auckland manufacturing facility New Zealand Health Manufacturing; and the mānuka honey brand Egmont, which operates beekeeping and the production, manufacture, and supply of mānuka honey.

The GO healthy brand was already present in Australia, China, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam and the Egmont brand was globally known.

Nestlé’s supplements brands include Solgar, Optifast, Sustagen, Alfamino, and Vital Proteins.

As reported in the NBR, TBHC had been 77% owned by ORA New Zealand, which is ultimately owned by Chinese asset management firm CDH Investments via a Cayman Islands entity. CDH Investment first backed TBHC in 2016 when it became its majority investor with an 80% stake.

TBHC bought Egmont Honey in August 2020. The Annabel family, who founded the honey business, then took a 2.9% stake in TBHC.

ORA posted a $3.838m loss in the year to March 31, 2021, with operating expenses and cost of sales outstripping revenue of $120.4m, according to the most recent accounts available on the Companies Office website.

It had $111m of related party loans to ORA Hong Kong and a CDH fund.

The Nestlé deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

TBHC employs 270 staff between Auckland, Wellington, Taranaki, Melbourne, and Singapore, with manufacturing handled in New Zealand.

As published in the NBR (September 29th, 2022)

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