Apollo Foods Limited, incorporated in 2013 and based in Hastings, has become one of the early beneficiaries of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) since its administrators were given new marching orders – or should we say serving orders?
Apollo Foods, at first blush, doesn’t seem desperately in need of a helping hand from taxpayers.
According to the New Zealand Food Innovation Network,
Job creation is already considerable – three employees have become 40 in only 18 months. Sales turnover, although domestic only, has grown rapidly to >$500K since launch in April 2018. Export interest is high from a range of markets, and all going well there may even be a container on the water before Christmas.
The article is undated and we are left to guess which Christmas has been mentioned.
Not long after its establishment, T&G Global, controlled by Germany’s BayWa, bought a half stake in the company in 2014 for $1 million before selling for an undisclosed sum in 2016.
Fonterra got a slice of the action two years ago when it invested an undisclosed sum in a new production line at a site capable of being used separately by both companies to produce dairy and fruit-based drinks.
The NZ Food Innovation Network site shows the company has not only learned how to find financial backing from corporate biggies like Fonterra and T&G Global.
It knows how to sniff out a publicly filled trough, too.
Operational investment has been big, with the capital investment circa. $20 million, supported by Callaghan Innovation from the project outset.
The company has been nourished from the PGF, too.
Last year Apollo Foods was among a few Hawke’s Bay companies which were awarded more than $14 million from the fund. Mind you, its portion of that particular feast was more like an appetiser – it amounted to $300,000 for a feasibility study into expansion of the facility.
At that time, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau said Hawke’s Bay had been earmarked as a priority region in terms of PGF investment to build on its farming and horticulture strengths, and provide employment opportunities and higher wages for locals.
When he announced a much bigger portion for Apollo Foods yesterday, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones declared the PGF will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery
“ … by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits.”
This looks like a strong hint that money previously dished up from the PGF has failed to generate the promised jobs as fast as Jones would like.
Jones announced PGF funding of $7.5m for four projects “that will make a huge difference to regions recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.
- $2.9 million for Apollo Foods Ltd in Hawke’s Bay for new technology and to upskill workers to increase productivity and capability.
- $2.5 million for an upgrade to Raglan Wharf to increase berth numbers and improve access for commercial operators, recreational users, and customers visiting the retail and hospitality businesses that could operate there.
- $1.86 million to redevelop the Westport waterfront with a pedestrian and cycle bridge from the town centre to the riverfront. This will provide greater access to another PGF-funded project, the Kawatiri Coastal trail, and will allow trail related businesses close access to the town centre.
- $209,500 for Otago engineering firm Te Pari Products to buy equipment that will increase its capacity to supply the primary sector with quality livestock-handling equipment.
Yep, there are four projects on the list, so why have we focussed on Apollo Foods?
Because it was the first to be mentioned and (we confess) we don’t have Jones’ resources to closely examine every beneficiary.
Perhaps we should apply for a share of the lolly, to employ more staff to write about stuff thrown up by the Point of Order Trough Monitor.