Seafood companies Sanford Limited, Sealord Group Limited and Kiwigreen Investments Limited have announced they have formed North Island Mussel Processors Limited (owned equally by the three parties) to consolidate their mussel processing requirements for Greenshell Mussels grown in the Coromandel region.

The new company will acquire the Kiwigreen mussel processing facility in Greerton, Tauranga. All the mussels farmed or managed by the three shareholders in the Coromandel region will be processed at the site under their respective brands.

At the present time both Kiwigreen and Sanford have mussel processing facilities in the area. Sealord has transported the majority of it's mussels to Nelson for processing.

Sanford will no longer carry out mussel processing in their Coromandel facility and will consult with their seasonal and permanent staff on opportunities in their farming or harvesting operations or elsewhere.

The Kiwigreen plant has just closed for the season and is being upgraded to increase its processing capacity.

The new joint venture focuses on processing scale efficiencies made possible by the increased volumes of mussels farmed from the shareholder interests in the expanded Wilsons Bay sites approved over 2 years ago. The Kiwigreen facility in Tauranga was chosen as the most suitable site for this expansion because of its export port location and access to a larger labour pool.

With a high New Zealand dollar and increasing international expansion of aquaculture the New Zealand industry needs to maintain its international competitiveness and it makes economic sense for the three companies to operate a large scale processing operation in the Tauranga region.