Queenstown-based Mount Cook Alpine Salmon (MCAS) has announced the purchase of South Canterbury salmon company, Aoraki Smokehouse Salmon Ltd.
Both companies operate Freshwater King Salmon farms on the South Canterbury hydro canals in the MacKenzie district.
MCAS has a current production of just over 1000 tonnes of salmon and Aoraki produces just under 600 tonnes of salmon a year.
“The purchase is a logical step in the growth of the business with the majority of MCAS production going to high-end overseas customers, while Aoraki’s production, particularly its sought-after smoked salmon products, is highly regarded in the domestic market,” says MCAS Chief Executive, David Cole.
“It’s an exciting step that will underpin New Zealand’s Freshwater King Salmon production, strengthen an emerging aquaculture industry in regional New Zealand, and expand the range of offerings to customers both domestically and around the world.”
Cole says the combined company will employ more than 150 staff across its two hatcheries, salmon farm operations, a modern Timaru processing plant, and the Christchurch-based Aoraki smokehouse business.
“Over time there will be some restructuring as we integrate the combined company operations, but for the moment, it will be business as usual.
“The goal is to have a sustainable, successful business in the central South Island – an outcome that we’re confident will bring positive change and opportunities.
“Demand for Freshwater King Salmon is growing rapidly both nationally and internationally. We are building a luxury brand being sold through the highest-ranking food stores in the world, and featuring on discriminating menus at high class establishments.
Freshwater King Salmon is much coveted for its clean, consistent, subtle and refreshing taste.
MCAS chairman, the Rt Hon Jim Bolger, says the consolidation is an important milestone in building an iconic New Zealand business.
“We need to bring scale to meet the demand from our expanding international customer base, and it makes good commercial sense to bring together the two major producers that grow this special Freshwater King Salmon product,” he says.