Hospitality Business Magazine

Barker Fruit Processors joins forces with French family

rsz_1michael_barker_shopBarker Fruit Processors has reached agreement to sell a majority stake to family-owned French company Andros, with Michael Barker retaining a significant shareholding in the business. The transaction is subject to Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval so in the meantime it is very much “business as usual.”

Andros is the world’s leader in premium jam, maker of the famous Bonne Maman brand at its home factory in Biars, a small town of 2,000 people in the French countryside. Over 60 years the Andros Group has developed an international network of 28 factories throughout Europe, North and South America and Asia. As well as jams they produce fruit snacks, fruit juices, fruit fillings, fruit preparations for industry and frozen desserts.

Michael Barker, executive director of Barker Fruit Processors, said the sale, for an undisclosed sum, would be a great boost for the company and the local economy. “After 45 years it was time to find a business partner to help take this business into the future, and who better than another passionate family business that can help us grow. Andros offers the things this business needs for the next 45 years – sales people in foreign markets, new products to sell locally, technical fruit processing and engineering support, opportunities for our people and a long term investor who understands our industry.

“Andros has a strong respect for what we have achieved so the existing Barker’s management team will continue to operate the business unchanged. Their on-going investment in our operations in Geraldine will be good for our customers, our people, our community and suppliers.

“We feel privileged that a leading global food manufacturer has chosen Barker’s as its local partner which will assure the long term future of Barker’s as an iconic New Zealand food producing company.

“Their international presence will provide opportunities for Barker’s products in new export markets and their international product portfolio will provide opportunities and synergies for Barker’s in local markets.”

Barker said that the ethos of both companies is aligned to a point where they are almost cut from the same cloth, albeit on a different scale. “Andros is rural based, family owned with family led values and a strong sense of staff loyalty.”

Sue Suckling, who has chaired the family business since 1999, says that the Barker’s business, its products, and its people are of the highest quality, and it has been an absolute privilege to be involved with such an outstanding New Zealand business over 15 years. “Barker’s outlook with Andros is very bright indeed,” she said.

Frédéric Gervoson, owner and C.E.O. of the Andros Group says he is happy and proud to contribute to the next pages in the Barker’s Story. “The distance between us is 19,200 km. We couldn’t find a further business to invest in, but we couldn’t find a closer one in terms of ethos, innovation and passion. We will give Barker’s the necessary  autonomy and support to confirm its position as a leading manufacturer in the Pacific Region, and an ambassador for New Zealand’s outstanding products and services throughout the world.”