PHl Investment in New Zealand
Very few of our businessmen/entrepreneurs have ventured outside the comfort zone of ASEAN and China. During my visit to New Zealand I was surprised to learn that there are others who have invested in other shores.
At the dinner hosted by Prime Minister John Key in honor of the honorary advisers of the Asia New Zealand Foundation last month, I was told that Universal Robina Corp. of the Gokongwei Group had just purchased Griffin’s Foods for $608 million. Final approval is of course required from the New Zealand government for any sale exceeding NZ$100 million to a foreign entity. I was told by our Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia that Griffin’s was established in Nelson, South Island in 1864 and subsequently bought by Nabisco in 1962, and then sold to Danone in 1990. Private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners (Sydney) bought Griffins from Danone in 2006. It is considered an iconic brand by my New Zealand friends. Lance Gokongwei informed me that Griffin’s products are a perfect fit in their offerings for export to the Southeast Asian markets and China.