Capilano and Comvita enter into Manuka honey business venture

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th March 2016
A Manuka tree flower

Australia’s biggest honey packer Capilano has entered into a 50:50 business venture with New Zealand honey producer Comvita to expand its Manuka (or Leptospermum) honey operations.


A Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies was signed on 2 March 2016 and will see a number of honey producing apiaries opened in Australia.


Manuka honey comes from the Manuka tree which can be found in both New Zealand and Australia. It has been used for years by New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people to help treat sore throats, wounds and upset stomachs.


The honey has increased in popularity in recent years with people across the world learning about the honey.


Capilano said it decided to enter into the partnership with the desire to secure greater honey supply and grow  its operations.


“Comvita currently operates in Australia in a sales and marketing capacity and this joint venture will secure greater volumes of Leptospermum honey to be processed in Australia, to meet a growing global sales demand,” Capilano said.


Australia and NZ’s biggest Manuka honey retailers 


Manuka Health New Zealand


Manuka Health New Zealand was established in 2006 by CEO Kerry Paul. It is now one of the largest Manuka honey companies in the world distributing to 45 different countries.


The company’s product list is extensive and includes oral care, skin care and shortbread biscuits.




Swisse specialises in vitamins but has recently expanded into other health products including Manuka honey.


The company had its start in Melbourne in 1969 but 86 per cent of the company was acquired China’s Biostime. Biostime owns a number of brands which specialise in infant formulas, pregnancy and infant nutritional supplements. Swisse’s CEO is Radek Sali who has been in the role since 2005.




The company was established in Australia in 1953 by beekeeping brothers Tim and Bert Smith. Today it is headed by Managing Director Ben McKee.


Capilano did not start as a Manuka honey producer but has since gone into the trade acquiring one of Australia’s largest Manuka honey producers, Kirksbees Honey, in July 2015 for AUD$6 million.




Comvita is a New Zealand honey producer established in 1974 by Claude Stratford and Alan Bougen. The company is now lead by Scott Coulter who was appointed to the position in October 2015. He has been with Comvita since 2003 starting as a sales and marketing manager.


Comvita sells is also wide ranging lozenges, royal jelly, skin care products and vinegars. It exports globally to companies including Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, the US, the UK and Taiwan.