Trailer Magazine

Sime Darby to acquire Gough Group’s New Zealand and Australian operations

  • Posted on Wednesday 14th, August 2019.

New Zealand–based industrial and automotive equipment company, The Gough Group, has announced it has entered into a conditional agreement to sell its New Zealand and Australian operations, including its Caterpillar dealership and transport businesses, to Sime Darby Berhad.

This follows a strategic review process that commenced in 2018 to consider the options for the long-term growth of the Group.

“Throughout the strategic review process, the Board and shareholders focused on the best interests of the company and its customers, suppliers and employees,” said Gough Group Chairman, Keith Sutton.

“We are confident that under Sime Darby’s ownership the outlook for the business will be strengthened, service to customers enhanced, and opportunities for our employees improved.

“Although it is sad to see the end of the almost 100-year legacy of Gough family ownership, all our stakeholders should be excited about the future direction of the business.”

The transaction is conditional upon approval by the Overseas Investment Office and other standard pre-conditions.

“The new owners have a wealth of industry knowledge and a clear commitment to our people and customers, which was very important to the shareholders and the Board,” said Gough Group CEO, Liz Ward.

Tracy Gough founded Gough, Gough & Hamer Limited in 1929, securing the Caterpillar dealership in 1932.

The Gough Group is one of New Zealand’s oldest privately-owned businesses, and a leading value-add solutions provider to the infrastructure, mining, forestry, transport and energy industries in New Zealand and Australia.

The diverse group incorporates 10 distinct businesses including premium global brands including Caterpillar, WABCO, SAF and Palfinger.

Sime Darby Berhad is connected with major brands in the industrial and automotive sectors and is one of the largest Caterpillar dealers on the global stage.

Headquartered in Malaysia and listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, the company has a workforce in excess of 20,000 employees and operates in 18 countries and territories across the Asia Pacific region.

Sime Darby Berhad entered the New Zealand market in 1999 through the acquisition of Continental Car Services and today has a large range of commercial interests within the transport sector in New Zealand.  

“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,” said Sime Darby Berhad Group CEO, Dato’ Jeffri Salim Davidson.

Gough Group reportedly grew its revenue by more than 18 per cent in 2018 to NZ$540 million from the previous year, driven by improvements in sales for both its Caterpillar dealership and transport and materials handling businesses.

In Australia, Sime Darby Berhad 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.

It also has a Commercial Transport arm representing brands such as Volvo, Hino, Mack and UD Trucks.

The company 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 30 September 2019.

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