Sale of high-end catering business Nourish Group: Foley Holdings NZ revealed as buyer

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Soul in the Viaduct. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Nourish Group, a leading national upscale hotel company, has been sold in a private deal announced this morning.

Mark Turnbull, director of Foley Holdings NZ and managing director of NZX-listed Foley Wines, said the holding company had bought Nourish, which owns and operates exclusive restaurants in Auckland, Taupō, Wellington and Queenstown.

Nourish has Soul in Auckland’s Viaduct, Andiamo in Herne Bay, Jervois Steak House in Queenstown, Wellington’s Pravda Cafe and Grill, Shed 5 on Wellington’s Queens Wharf, Britomart’s The Chamberlain, The Crab Shack Wellington, Bistro Lago in Taupō, Talulah and The Brit au Britomart of Auckland.

More than 400 people work for the group, which was to be sold to NZX-listed Good Spirits Hospitality in a conditional deal announced last year but later scrapped.

In November, Good Spirits announced that it was buying Nourish with 10 sites, bringing the total number of sites to around 20. Industry veteran Richard Sigley was to join the Good Spirits board.

But in April that was all reversed when Good Spirits told NZX: “Although its major shareholder has supported this transaction and agreed to provide the debt portion of the transaction, the interests of potential partners have been significantly affected by the inability of investors to travel to New Zealand and the uncertainty surrounding further Covid Shield Framework restrictions on New Zealand hotel businesses in the future.”

Mark Turnbull, Managing Director of Foley Wines, at Wharekauhau Country Estate.  Photo/Mark Mitchell
Mark Turnbull, Managing Director of Foley Wines, at Wharekauhau Country Estate. Photo/Mark Mitchell

Today Foley’s Turnbull said: “The holding company bought 100% of Nourish Group this week. It previously held a 24.9% investment in the group for nearly nine years.

“When the Good Spirits Hospitality deal was unsuccessful, it was felt there was significant synergy with Foley’s other investments in New Zealand,” Turnbull said.

These included the Wharekauhau Country Estate and Foley Wines where significant hotel investment combined with the new Te Kairanga development in the Wairarapa is underway.

Foley is also expanding its Mt Difficulty operations into central Otago.

No price was put on the deal, with Turnbull saying it was a private transaction.

Good Spirits put $21.3 million on its base purchase price when it announced its deal last November. An additional $5.9 million was payable 12 to 24 months after settlement via an agreed earn-out formula based on site outperformance.

Turnbull said today the purchase of Foley was significant.

“It demonstrates long-term confidence in the sector,” he said of the purchase, which brings more certainty about the future of the group.

Richard Sigley from Nourish and Geoff Tuttle from Good Spirits last November.  Photo / provided
Richard Sigley from Nourish and Geoff Tuttle from Good Spirits last November. Photo / provided

Foley Wines brands include Te Karinga, Vavasour, Mt Difficulty, Russian Jack, Dashwood by Vavasour, Roaring Meg by Mt Difficulty, Grove Mill, Martinborough Vineyard, Lighthouse Gin, Sanctuary, Te Tera, Goldwater, Boatshed Bay, Clifford Bay and The pass. .

In the Wairarapa, Foley Wines is completing a new venue with a distillery, a 100-person restaurant with additional private dining, an outdoor patio, wedding venue and reception spaces.

A tasting room and guided tours are also planned. The underground barrel room will meet the growing needs of the Te Kairanga winery on the same property, the company said.

It is also expanding its operations from Mt Difficulty into central Otago.

“Our ambition is to be New Zealand’s most revered wine group through ownership of iconic wineries in the country’s most acclaimed regions, inspiring the most discerning retailers and restaurants around the world,” says the company.

Nourish Group said that in the two decades it has operated, it has become the “benchmark” for hotel businesses in this country.

Late last year, Nourish Group’s Euro restaurant announced its closure, blaming the impact of the pandemic.

Foley Wines is trading today around $1.45 and has a market capitalization of $95 million.

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