Aussie firm seeks to buy MacFarms
MacFarms of Hawaii LLC
, the second-largest macadamia nut processor and marketer in the state, may be purchased by Australian food processor Buderim Ginger Ltd
. The Queensland-based company said yesterday it has signed a nonbinding letter of intent to purchase MacFarms on the Big Island.
The buyout attempt comes less than a year after Hilo-based ML Macadamia Orchards LP, Hawaii's largest macadamia nut grower, ended an 18-month effort to acquire MacFarms for $13.1 million.
"We've been looking at the opportunity for the last month or two," Buderim Ginger CEO Gerard O'Brien said in an interview. "For us it was access to the U.S. market, which is still the biggest market for macadamia nuts in the world."
O'Brien declined to disclosed financial details. MacFarms would not release information after-hours.
"Our plans are to build the business; it's a good fit with our Australian operations," O'Brien said, adding that more information will be available once negotiations are complete. The company said it expects the transaction to close in early August.
Buderim also said it would lease a 3,903-acre macadamia orchard owned by Kapua Orchard Estates LLC, an affiliate of Mac Farms.
The proposed transaction is subject to completion of due diligence, financial approval and further negotiations with MacFarms.
Buderim, which processes, grows and distributes ginger globally, last December bought out Agrimac, Australia's third-largest producer of macadamia nuts. The company also is undertaking a share purchase plan to provide funding flexibility for acquisitions.
Hawaii's macadamia nut crop for 2007-2008 is estimated at 36.0 million pounds net, wet-in-shell, which is 22 million pounds or 38 percent less than last season, according to the state Department of Agriculture.