Hawke's Bay's multi-million dollar apple industry is facing a crisis like never before – all because there are not enough people available to pick the apple crop.
Ngāi Tahu Holdings is the investment arm of the South Island’s largest iwi Ngāi Tahu. Its investment came after the recent completion of a successful capital raise by Rockit.
At the same time, Punchbowl Investments-led group – PB Rock – lifted its combined Punchbowl and PB Rock stake to 15% in the company. Pioneer Capital remains the largest stakeholder in Rockit Global Limited, holding around 40%.
Rockit chairman John Loughlin says the investment was completed by Ngāi Tahu Holdings in late February, and that all parties are extremely pleased with the outcome.
“Ngāi Tahu Holdings expressed an interest in Rockit early on in the process, recognising there was alignment with its strategic goals. We also see great strategic value in this relationship – value that stretches far beyond the benefit of the significant investment Ngāi Tahu Holdings has made in our business.”
Ngāi Tahu Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio says it’s an investment to be celebrated.
“This opportunity will benefit both sides by providing Rockit with more capacity for future orchard developments, as well as further diversifying and increasing the growth profile of our portfolio,” he says.
“This investment is consistent with our overall strategy and is a wonderful opportunity to work alongside a fast-growing, innovative New Zealand company with a strong team.”
Rockit’s capital-raising process began in late 2020, and took place over three stages – beginning with offers to growers and existing investors. Both offers were oversubscribed, which the company claims is testament to the strides it has made developing key offshore markets, appointing top talent and establishing world-leading technical innovation.
Meanwhile, foundation investor Punchbowl Investments Ltd, along with its PB Rock group of investors – major stakeholders in the kiwifruit sector – says it took the opportunity to build on its investment in Rockit Global.
“The Punchbowl group is pleased to be taking one of the lead roles in the capital raising,” says executive chairman, Rob Craig.
“We have supported Rockit at every turn and we are pleased to see the business taking another step forward.”
Loughlin says Rockit has been on a sharp global growth path and that the capital-raise will enable several high-profile projects to move forward
“Our state-of-the-art packhouse and headquarters located in Irongate, Hastings is nearing completion, and its second phase will take a large portion of this funding. We’ll also look to establish our own orchards – which diversifies our business – and support strategic global sales and marketing activity.”
He says the investments made by Ngāi Tahu Holdings and PB Rock, coupled with the support from existing investors and grower investors, is exceptionally influential.