Oriens Capital invests into Rockit Global Ltd



Havelock North Fruit Company (HNFC), home of delicious, miniature Rockit™ apple snacks, today announced exciting and significant company changes. Effective immediately, the Hawke’s Bay-based company will begin trading as Rockit Global Limited. Two experienced growth equity investors have taken a significant stake in the new company and Austin Mortimer has been appointed as its Chief Executive Officer.

“Over the past few years, HNFC has been on a rapid international growth path. Rockit™ apple snacks are now grown in seven countries and sold through our highly-valued international partners in 22 countries. With only 3% of Rockit™ apple snacks sold in New Zealand our sales & marketing focus is on key international markets,”
said Chairman, John Loughlin. “In 2016, the company exported 77 containers of fruit and earned its maiden profit. We have strong growth plans for 2017 and the years ahead.”

Mr Loughlin announced that entities associated with Pioneer Capital and Oriens Capital, New Zealand private equity growth investors, have purchased the ownership interests of Phil Alison (HNFC founder and former Managing Director), becoming significant shareholders in the new company.

Phil Alison has sold all his Rockit™ related interests and will no longer be involved with the company, its subsidiaries, or related orchard suppliers of fruit. “Phil made a huge contribution in recognising the potential of the fruit, then establishing and leading the business toward building the Rockit™ global brand. We will always be greatly appreciative of the work he put into creating the international platform for the business” said Mr Loughlin. [Mr Loughlin said that the value of the transactions remains confidential to the parties.]

The Rockit Global Limited Board of Directors will include four members of the previous HNFC Board; John Loughlin (Chair), Murray Denyer, Steve Saunders, and Neil Craig. They will be joined by James Beale (Oriens Capital) and Craig Styris (Pioneer Capital). “It is very positive that growth equity investors of this calibre, from outside the pip fruit industry, are recognising the tremendous potential in Rockit Global Limited and the industry,” said John Loughlin. “The new shareholders have experience in growing New Zealand export businesses. They will contribute governance expertise and additional capital to help the company deliver on its ambitious growth plans.”
HNFC’s Acting Chief Executive Austin Mortimer has been appointed Chief Executive, Rockit Global Limited. Austin will lead the local team focusing on growing a premium product and developing international markets.

“Rockit Global Limited is a significant New Zealand success story. It clearly demonstrates how high-quality fruit can be positioned as a premium, value-added product through a robust brand strategy,” said Austin Mortimer. “Rockit Global Limited is now well-positioned to continue its rapid growth and capitalise on the substantial grab and go healthy snack market.”

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