Fonterra sells Tip Top ice cream for $358m

Dairy cooperative Fonterra has sold New Zealand ice cream brand Tip Top to global giant Froneri for $NZ380 million ($A358m).

Chief executive Ibrahim Najafi said on Monday that Froneri will keep the Tip Top brand name and operations at its Auckland factory.

The price is $100 million more than Tip Top’s book value, Fonterra said, but chief executive Miles Hurrell called the sale “bittersweet”.

“I get the strong connection New Zealanders have with Tip Top. It will be important to see that it’s in good hands,” Mr Hurrell said.

“It’s been a privilege being the guardians of Tip Top, but it’s time to hand the baton to new owners. The well-loved brand needs continuing investment and focused ownership to be sustainable for generations to come. It’s not something we’re in a position to do right now.”

Tip Top has been owned by several international brands during its 80-year history, said Fonterra, which acquired the brand in 2001.

It produces ice cream under the brands Tip Top, Kapiti, Trumpet and Popsicle, which are exported to Australia and across the Pacific.

Froneri, a joint venture between Nestle and R&R Ice Cream, indicated it would likely roll Tip Top’s brands out to more markets.

“An important part of our strategy is to develop local market successes and roll them out across our other markets,” Mr Najafi said.

At 1339 AEST, Fonterra’s ASX-listed shares were up three cents, or 0.74 per cent, to $4.06.

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