Honey and Software Win NZ Private Capital Investment of the Year

24 October 2019

Honey and Software Win NZ Private Capital Investment of the Year

Successful investments by two private equity firms in Manuka Health and Seequent won awards from the New Zealand Private Capital Association as the best deals of the year at its annual conference in Queenstown today (24th October).

‘The NZ Private Capital Investment of Year Awards recognise the private equity and venture capital firms that accelerate the ambition of New Zealand business owners through operational improvement and investment performance,’ says NZ Private Capital Executive Director, Colin McKinnon.

Entries were judged on return to investors and the companies’ financial performance. The companies’ contributions to the economy, employment, innovation, consistency and industry competitiveness were also considered.

Mr McKinnon adds: ‘The winners of our 2019 awards are examples of private capital partnering with companies to improve growth and performance, and to share expertise and to provide capital. This ultimately delivers improved productivity, creates jobs and contributes to the national economy.’


INVESTMENT OF THE YEAR up to $150 million

Awarded to Pencarrow Private Equity for their investment in Seequent

INVESTMENT OF THE YEAR over $150 million

Awarded to Pacific Equity Partners for their investment in Manuka Health

Further information

Seequent is a world leader in visual data science and geological modelling. The company is headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand with over 360 employees across 15 global offices and has an active customer base of ~35,000 users.

Seequent has built a leading global position in the mining and minerals sector, and more recently expanded its market focus to include civil engineering, energy and environmental management industries. Its software products allow users to solve complex geological problems, manage risk, and make better decisions across the lifecycle of projects.

Pencarrow Fund IV invested in Seequent in July 2014, primarily to provide growth capital to support the company’s international growth initiatives and investment in new software product development programmes. Seequent’s revenue increased from ~$12 million to ~$40 million during Pencarrow Fund IV’s ownership.

In August 2018 Seequent was acquired by an Accel-KKR led consortium. The capital raised from that transaction enabled the company to acquire Geosoft, a global leading geophysics focused software company based in Toronto.

Manuka Health is a global leader in the production, manufacture and distribution of Manuka honey and honey related health products, foods and supplements. While beehive and manufacturing operations are local to New Zealand, the business has global export reach across multiple retail channels. 

When Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) acquired Manuka Health, it was run in an entrepreneurial fashion and the business had reached its next phase of development which required a professional and experienced senior management team and a change to the strategic plan.

Putting in place a high quality, experienced management team was essential to ensure the business could manage industry and regulatory issues, multiple stakeholder rights (including workforce and landowners) and important biodiversity issues, given the nature of operations. PEP installed a new CEO with extensive expertise in consumer goods and skills in entrepreneurial / growth situations which remained relevant for Manuka Health. New senior management across all key business functions were also appointed with strong expertise in consumer products, export distribution, social responsibility and agribusiness. 

Significant investment in team and infrastructure paved the way to up‐scale and drive growth across the business. In addition to operating base investment, material additional capital was also invested in adding diversity and scale to Manuka Health’s vertically integrated honey supply chain. In‐house hives were grown materially through the investment period with additional investment in longer term Manuka land regeneration and plantations.

While under PEP ownership, Manuka Health undertook several other ESG initiatives including pioneering the use of climate and bloom monitoring technology to enable remote monitoring of apiculture and began land regeneration programmes to restore over 20,000 ha of Manuka. Manuka Health has also improved bee health and reproduction through targeted population drops into remote Manuka areas during flowering periods and wintering programmes that keep hives protected out of season.

In January 2019 an Asian trade buyer acquired the PEP shareholding. The journey for Manuka Health continues with a shareholder with material value-add in Asia, a key region for the next stage of growth for Manuka Health.

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