3 Jul 2023

Comvita signs partnership deal with China's Olé supermarket chain

2:24 pm on 3 July 2023
The Ministry for Primary Industries wants to be able to more accurately define the properties of manuka honey.

Honey producer Comvita has signed a deal aimed at growing its current revenue with Chinese supermarket chain Olé. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Honey producer and exporter Comvita has signed a long term partnership with one of China's largest retail chains.

Olé has more than 100 supermarkets across mainland China.

The deal was signed during Prime Minister Chris Hipkin's visit to China last week.

Comvita chief executive David Banfield said the agreement aimed to significantly grow Comvita's current revenue with Olé over the next few years.

It also included a commitment to include a broad number of environmental, social and governance initiatives as part of the company's Harmony Plan, in a market first, he said.

"This strategic partnership is both commercially and philosophically significant.

"We have set out a plan to significantly grow our current business with the biggest premium retailer in China but have also agreed to achieve this in line with our Harmony Plan principles.

"This will result in significant benefits to consumers in China, shareholders, the planet and most importantly, bees."

Comvita's Harmony Plan was a sustainability initiative that involved the company becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and aiming to save more than 10 million bees every year.

Forsyth Barr analyst Margaret Bei said Olé was a premium supermarket chain with a focus on imported food and the deal would add to Comvita's revenue.

"The revenue impact is estimated to be in the millions," though Comvita had not quantified the expected earnings impact," she said.

Bei said the next key date for the company was its full year result in late August.

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