Otago Daily Times
Lewis Road Creamery bought by fund
AUCKLAND: New Zealand’s largest farmland fund, Southern Pastures, is to take full ownership of premium milk and butter brand Lewis Road Creamery after agreeing to buy the remaining 50% stake it did not own.
Lewis Road Creamery was started by Peter Cullinane in his kitchen in 2012, and its dairy products are now stocked in supermarkets across New Zealand, as well as in Whole Foods and other stores in the United States and Woolworths in Australia.
Southern Pastures, which owns and operates 20 farms in Waikato and Canterbury, bought an initial stake in 2017 and has built up the shareholding over the past three years. It will now acquire the remaining share of the business for an undisclosed sum.
Mr Cullinane said it had been an incredible journey that started in his home.
‘‘To now see the brand mature safely in the hands of investors who are farmers of such integrity and quality is a fantastic conclusion.’’
He would step down from his roles at the company as part of the deal, while general manager Nicola O’Rourke would continue to manage the daytoday running of the business.
Southern Pastures executive chairman and Lewis Road board member Prem Maan said Mr Cullinane had created an amazing brand.
‘‘We’re proud to take on the responsibility of building on it to produce the best premium dairy products New Zealand has to offer.’’
Southern Pastures’ farms produce milk under an independently certified 10Star Certified Values programme, which stipulates grassfed, freerange, climatechange mitigation, human welfare, animal welfare, GMOfree, palm products free, growth hormones free, antibiotic stewardship and environmental sustainability requirements.
Premium milk produced under the programme is used in Lewis Road Creamery’s grassfed butter.
Mr Maan said Southern Pastures earlier this year also took full ownership of New Zealand Grass Fed Milk Products LP — which was previously a joint venture with Westland Milk Products.
‘‘We’re convinced that farming can be a powerful tool for environmental good in addition to providing economic returns,’’ he said.
‘‘We have a longterm vision to produce carbonneutral dairy in New Zealand and we see Lewis Road Creamery as part of that grasstoglass journey.’’
The board of Southern Pastures, led by Mr Maan and including former All Black captain Graham Mourie, Phillip Wight and Taari Nicholas will become the board of Lewis Road.
It will also appoint an advisory board to be led by current Lewis Road board director Alison Barrass, which will include Californiabased New Zealand Grass Fed Milk products director, Deborah Rolf. — The New Zealand Herald