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Entrepreneurs prepare to shell out for nut processing business on the market for sale

One of only a few commercially-graded specialist nut-processing plants operating in New Zealand has been placed on the market for sale.

Nuttz About Nuts was founded in 2009 in a suburban Auckland garage, and after a decade of continued growth in both volumes and turnover, it now operates from an accredited food processing industrial premises in Napier.

Among the varieties of nuts processed at the Napier plant are cashews, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, and peanuts. According to individual client brands and products, Nuttz About Nuts then adds a multitude of various flavours to the core nut product – including honey, chilli lime, cinnamon, Moroccan spice, vanilla, smoke, and chocolate. It also produces unflavoured raw and roasted nuts.

The company has a nut supply contract, with the New Zealand operations of airline food supplier LSG Skychefs which ensures the brand’s nuts are flown out of this country on Air New Zealand and other international airlines. Nuttz nuts are also found in the minibars of several New Zealand hotel brands – such as Sofitel, Millennium and Skycity.

Now the ‘Nuttz About Nuts’ business is now being marketed for sale through Bayleys Napier for $990,000 plus GST. Salesperson Rodger Howie said the business was highly specialized - with few other such operations of its type in New Zealand. That ensured a high barrier to entry by competition.

Mr Howie said that Nuttz About Nuts’ founder and current owner spent some $125,000 on fitting out its Napier premises in 2014 to Ministry of Primary Industry food manufacturing approved standards. The plant has the ministry’s Hazard Analysis at Critical Control Point certification.

Expanding the processing capabilities of the plant five years ago, the owner added a macadamia nut processing plant capable of drying, shelling, and sorting up to 16 tonnes of macadamia nuts per month. He also began importing bulk product, processing and packaging that product for distribution under the ‘Nuttz about nuts’ brand and also to local food manufacturers for value-add under other brands.

“Alan’s investment in machinery - in conjunction with extensive training in food technology and food safety compliance programmes – ensured the business could offer contract services to nut importers and domestic nut growers for the macadamia processing, roasting, coating, grinding and even packaging of their nut products,” Mr Howie said.

Mr Howie said that with the Nuttz About Nuts business operating on an established firm footing - with product supply agreements and wholesale contracts in place - the entity was ready for a new owner to take it to the next level.

“Currently, the macadamia plant only operates at 12.5 percent of capacity, so there is substantial room to grow productivity,” he said.

“The big revenue opportunity is of course getting the Nuttz-branded product range onto the supermarket shelves, followed by the potential for exporting stock, and concurrently increasing the contract processing services the company delivers.

“New product lines – whether under the Nuttz About Nuts brand, or assisting in the development of new product ranges for other retail brands – is also a growth opportunity. This dynamic would encompass Nuttz About Nuts manufacturing nut-based butter, oil, milk, and muesli ingredients.

“The current owner, by his own admission, is very much a ‘day-to-day’, ‘do it’, sort of guy. While his expertise is in food production and manufacturing, he knows the business needs someone with marketing ‘nous’ skillset to take the brand and all its potential to the next level.”

Mr Howie said the business could also be easily vertically integrated into an existing nut farm to allow for a plant-to-plate chain. Nuttz About Nuts has a lease on its Napier warehouse factory premises until later this year, with two three-year rights of renewal pending to be taken by any new owner of the business.

The company’s processing, manufacturing and packing equipment and machinery has an insurance replacement valuation of $1 million. On average, Nuttz About Nuts also carries approximately $80,000 worth of stock at any given point.

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