Wallace Group acquires Nichols to strengthen casualty cow collection business in the South Island

Working in the Nicols tannery.

Nationwide co-products business Wallace Group today announced the acquisition of the business and assets of Nichols (NZ) Limited, who operate a specialist tannery in Christchurch and a significant casualty stock collector network across the South Island.

Wallace Group chief executive officer, Graham Shortland says, “Nichols represents an important strategic investment for Wallace Group as an agri-recycler.  It strongly aligns with our casualty cow collection business in the North Island and we are using Nichols as a beachhead to expand our collection service in the South Island.”

Graham Shortland says the new acquisition complements Wallace Group’s larger tannery at Waitoa.

“Nichols produces further processed lamb skins from slink lambs, so it complements our large scale tannery at Waitoa which produces further-processed cattle hides and calf skins.”

Wallace Group was formed in June through the merger of Wallace Corporation and Farm Brands, creating a nationwide co-products and tannery business.

Shortland says, “We’re delighted to be able to start to expand our casualty cow collection service so soon after our merger, as it was one of our key goals.

“The recycling of co-products from the agricultural sector performs a valuable service for farmers and processors as well protecting the natural environment and our collection service has created a positive industry for converting lamb and calf skins into valuable exports for consumer goods.”

Wallace Group has decades of experience in casualty cow collection and recycling agricultural waste. Through a dedicated Wallace Group owned and operated call centre, bookings for the collection service can be made for specialist trucks to pick up casualty cows from farms. The collection service which had operated predominantly in the North Island, is now significantly expanded in the South Island.

Shortland says the opportunity to acquire Nichols (NZ) Ltd arose through the desire of its parent company United Kingdom-based LH Nichols Limited to divest.

“We’ve been interested in Nichols for a number of years because of the complementary nature of the businesses.  Since the 1970s, Nichols has developed a well-established South Island casualty calf and slink lamb collector network, along with specialist tanning capabilities.”

Nichols (NZ) Limited will be fully integrated into Wallace Group, but will continue to operate under the Nichols brand for the foreseeable.

Nichols has built a reputation in the market as a supplier of high quality finished leathers for luxury glove, garment, accessory and footwear manufacture.  The company also supplies other tanners with carefully selected and graded raw material.  Its customer base spans Australasia, North and South America, Europe and Asia, although Shortland notes that the company is experiencing historic low prices for skins presently.

Nichols employ 30 full-time staff at the tannery, and has a seasonal peak of around 70 staff across the tannery and skinning sites in the South Island.

Shortland says, “This is another positive story for our creative and ingenious industry.  All Nichols staff will be retained and become employees of Wallace Group.  As demand for our casualty cow collection business in the South Island grows, we’ll also look to employ additional staff.”

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