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Apollo Back in Canada

Christchurch construction firm Apollo Projects has won a third contract in Canada in as many years and is considering setting up a permanent office overseas.

Apollo Projects is building a processing facility for Monster Vineyards, following previous winery builds for Poplar Grove Winery and Tantalus Winery in Canada, and several local wineries including Amisfield, Indevin, Grove Mill, Seresin Estate, Wairau River Wines and Yealands Estate.

Apollo Projects chief executive Paul Lloyd said there were more potential projects in Canada.

The New Zealand wine industry’s expertise was highly regarded in terms of the technology it employed, Lloyd said. This latest project is a $2 million, 1500sqm wine processing facility for Monster Vineyards, a Poplar Grove label, in Penticton, British Columbia.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of May.

The wine industry in Canada was a young one, with a lot of smaller, boutique producers, Lloyd said.

The Canadian wine market consumed up to 10 times what its local industry produced.

Wine producers wanted to build “cellar doors” so they could sell from the winery because they got so much more of the dollar, Lloyd said.

Winning its third project in three years was a reflection of the specialist area Apollo Projects operated in, controlled- environment food and beverage processing plants.

One of the reasons the firm was looking beyond New Zealand for growth was because it was a specialist in its field.

Apollo Projects wanted to sell the whole build, not just parts of the puzzle, Lloyd said.

Canada appealed because it was very similar culturally to New Zealand and had a large food-processing sector.

The company wanted to have an overseas office, but had a lot of research to do to determine the feasibility of such an office, and where best to have it, Lloyd said.

Canada was an option but there was also growth potential in Vietnam, and in time, possibly opportunities in Africa. Lloyd said he was keeping a close eye on Vietnam, which he describes as “China, 10 or 15 years ago”.

Vietnam had had good growth and had excellent conditions for food production.

One of the challenges for Apollo Projects was finding the necessary expertise among the contractors and suppliers in the country they were operating in.

The firm’s intellectual property lay in its people and their knowledge and expertise and was looking to hire three new project managers. In 12 months’ time Lloyd said he expected to have 10 more staff in Christchurch alone.

The firm is also busy with local projects.

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