New Zealand

Foodstuffs proposes merger of two co-ops

Exteriors of shopping brands

Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

The country’s biggest supermarket operator wants to merge its various businesses into a single national co-operative.

The boards of Foodstuffs North and South Island, which currently operate as separate co-ops, have proposed to merge the two, in order to remove duplication, simplify the business, and save costs.

The two co-ops operate New World, Pak’N Save, Four Square, Raeward Fresh, On the Spot, Gilmours and Trents Wholesale.

The co-ops said they were engaging with the Commerce Commission and seeking clearance to merge.

If the merger gets approved, the chair and chief executive designates would come from alternate co-ops, they said.

Foodstuffs South Island chairperson Russell McKenzie would chair the proposed new co-operative’s board, and Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin would assume the role as chief executive designate.

“If the proposed merger proceeds, we’ll continue to be a proudly 100 percent NZ owned co-operative with each store owned and operated by a local grocer,” McKenzie said.

He said all supply chain networks serving members and customers would remain the same.

“What would change is the way we’re governed and operated. By combining the very best ways of doing things from each co-op and forming one national business, we have an opportunity to reduce complexity, duplication and the additional cost that comes from running two co-ops.

“Ultimately, this will make us more efficient and able to deliver more innovation and better value for New Zealanders.”

Each co-operative would hold a special general meeting in June next year, where members would vote on the proposal to merge.

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