American company buys New Zealand company

You possibly have a Sistema lunch box or drink bottle. If not, you have probably seen these products on sale in the supermarket. Sistema makes plastic kitchen storage boxes with clips on the sides to keep the lid closed tight. They come in a range of sizes and the clips are not always blue. You can use them for storing food in the cupboard, fridge, or freezer.

The company was started 34 years ago by Brendan Lindsay in his garage in small town Cambridge in the Waikato region. When he travelled to sell his products, he slept in his car to save money. His company has done well in the past 34 years. There is now a big factory in Auckland near the airport. The company employs 700 people and sells its products in 90 countries.

Now Brendan Lindsay has sold his business to Newell Brands, a big American company which makes many consumer products like Papermate, Sharpie and Parker. Newell wanted to buy Sistema several years ago but Mr Lindsay refused to sell until there was a guarantee of employment for the 700 workers. The agreement today includes a guarantee to employ the staff in New Zealand for the next 20 years.

This is unusual these days when so many factory jobs move overseas where workers are paid less.

Newell Brands will pay $660 million for Sistema. Not bad for a business which started in a garage.

Mr Lindsay plans to use some of the money for charitable work, perhaps in sports.


• range (n) – a variety
• guarantee (n) – a promise in writing
• charitable (adj) from charity (n) – giving money to needy people e.g poor people

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