Sistema sold for $660m
Kiwi plastic kitchen container firm Sistema has been snapped up by a US Fortune 500 company for $660 million in another garage-to-global local business success story.
Founder, and 90 per cent owner, Brendan Lindsay turned down an initial offer from Newell Brands in 2014 because it would not commit to keeping the firm’s manufacturing and 700 staff New Zealand based.
This year Newell tried again and after visiting Sistema’s new Auckland factory, the company with a United States market capitalisation of US$22 billion (NZ$31b) agreed to all Lindsay’s conditions.
‘‘There’s a 20-year lease on the building, guaranteed employment for 700 staff with all their [existing] employment conditions. It’s business as usual, nothing changes,’’ Lindsay said.
‘‘The way I look at it, this is my baby and it’s time for new parents. And it’s the best deal for Sistema because why would you give your baby to parents you didn’t like or trust?’’
‘‘Newell has the expertise and market access that will enable them to take the business to the next level and create new opportunities for the company, especially in North America,’’ Lindsay said.
He will step down as managing director of the company he started 34 years ago from a garage in Cambridge, but will spend the next 12 months helping appoint his replacement and managing the transition
Lindsay and wife Jo, who chose the Sistema name, plan to take some time over Christmas to enjoy the success and will then work on charitable endeavours next year.
‘‘A lot of New Zealanders get a lot of money and then bugger off. We’re staying put because we love our country. It’s not all about the money, it’s also about time, and we have that now to give back to our country and our community.
‘‘I hope a lot of people in New Zealand can benefit from Sistema’s success.’’
Asked how he planned to celebrate the deal, Lindsay said he just wanted to head home and sit on the couch with his wife.
‘‘I’m looking forward to talking to her about what we’ve done, what we’ve achieved as a family.’’