KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 13): Sime Darby Bhd is acquiring New Zealand's Gough Group Ltd for NZ$211 million (RM572 million) in its largest transaction since the group's pure play restructuring exercise in 2017.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Sime Darby said its indirect wholly-owned unit Sime Darby (NZ) Holdings Ltd is buying Gough Group from Gough Holdings Ltd.
Gough Group, it said, has the Caterpillar dealership with service territory in New Zealand and interests in the transport and materials handling business in New Zealand and Australia.
"The New Zealand Caterpillar dealership has a rich history spanning 90 years, making it one of the oldest dealerships of Caterpillar equipment outside of the United States," Sime Darby said in a separate statement.
Gough Group's transport and materials handling businesses span across construction, infrastructure, transport and power system industries, distributing a wide range of premium global brands, such as SAF, Palfinger and WABCO in New Zealand and Australia, said Sime Darby.
Gough Group currently employs about 950 people across a network of over 50 locations in Australia and New Zealand.
Sime Darby's group chief executive officer Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson said the transaction allows the group to enhance its relationship with Caterpillar, and gain exposure to the construction and forestry sectors in New Zealand, further reinforcing Sime Darby Industrial's footprint in the Asia Pacific region.
"The Gough Group's transport and material handling portfolio will complement Sime Darby Motors' commercial truck business in New Zealand, enable growth in aftersales operations and broaden our suite of franchises, essentially strengthening our position in Australasia," he added.
In Australia, Sime Darby is represented by Hastings Deering, one of Caterpillar's leading dealers, as well as through Sime Darby Motors' dealerships for BMW, Volvo, Ferrari and Rolls Royce in Brisbane and Porsche in Sydney.
In New Zealand, Sime Darby Motors operates under the Continental Cars and City Nissan dealerships in Auckland, representing brands such as BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Ferrari and Nissan. Sime Darby's automotive arm also has a Commercial Transport arm representing brands such as Volvo, Hino, Mack and UD Trucks.
Sime Darby said the Gough Group grew its revenue by more than 18% year-on-year to NZ$540 million in 2018, driven by improvements in sales for both its Caterpillar and transport and material handling businesses.
The group said the transaction will be fully funded by bank borrowings, on a cash-free and debt-free basis, and is subject to New Zealand's Overseas Investment Office approval and the typical completion conditions.
The deal is expected to be completed by Sept 30, 2019.
At 4.23pm, shares of Sime Darby were down three sen or 1.37% at RM2.16, valuing the group at RM14.69 billion.