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     Balle Bros Group

    More details have come out in the sale of Mr Chips by Simplot to New Zealand's Balle Bros, first reported by PotatoPro on August 18. The article also provides more information on the history of Mr Chips as well as the transition:
     

    Potato product processor Mr Chips is back in New Zealand hands after its sale to Pukekohe-based Balle Bros Group by Melbourne-based Simplot Australia for an undisclosed sum.

    Simplot had owned the company, which produces about 30,000 tonnes of french fries and chips a year, since 2008.

    Mr Chips was established in Tauranga in the early 1980s and was floated on the New Zealand sharemarket in 1993 before being taken private by Simplot Australia.

    Family-owned produce business Balle Bros Group has been a supplier to Mr Chips since 1981 and built up a shareholding in it of up to 15 per cent from 1993 to 2010.

    The group sold its stake to Simplot, when it sought full control three years ago, and was the first to be approached by the Australian food manufacturer after it decided the company was no longer a strategic fit and wanted to sell.

    Mr Chips manufactures in South Auckland and Christchurch, with processing capacity for 80,000 tonnes of potatoes.

    Sixty per cent of its products are sold within New Zealand through a part-franchised distribution model to supermarkets and takeaway outlets, and the remainder is exported to Australia.

    The company's general manager and plant manager are Simplot appointees but will stay on for a lengthy transition period under the new ownership.
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