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Billionaire Hart makes move to acquire Hansells

Graeme Hart. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Pam Graham
[email protected]

Kiwi billionaire Graeme Hart has obtained a minority shareholding in the Hansells business in Masterton as part of his bid for Hansells Food Group.

Hart has famously turned around many struggling food businesses. On Monday, it emerged his latest target is Hansells and this time he’s bidding with his son, Harry.

Hansells Masterton is owned by investors, several of whom are associated with Alan Stewart, but the group retained a 25 per cent stake.

The Companies Office website shows new shareholder HFC Acquisition Ltd – wholly owned entity of Hart’s Rank Group, as a 25 per cent shareholder in Hansells Masterton.

The sole director of HFG is listed as Harrison Richard Francis Hart – understood to be Hart’s son, Harry.

As a schoolboy, his son sat in the back of a press conference in Auckland for the share sell that allowed Hart to exit Goodman Fielder.

Hart is a former tow truck driver who bought and turned around the Government Print Office. Australian pundits thought a subsequent deal to buy Australian food company Burns Philp would be his undoing, but he proved everyone wrong. He turned it around, then bought Goodman Fielder and turned it around.

Then he did deals of a global scale in packaging. Throughout, his philosophy has been to restructure and build businesses until they get No 1 market positions, then he sells.

He has done it all through his investment vehicle Rank Group from an Auckland base.

Hart is New Zealand’s richest man. Hansells is known for its essences and baking products as well as iconic New Zealand brands such as Vitafresh.

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