The wealthy New Zealand Gough family has sold its Gough Group for around $AUD220 million to Malaysian company Sime Darby ending the family’s 90-year history owning the Caterpillar heavy machinery dealership in New Zealand.

The Gough family fortune is collectively valued at nearly $AUD 450m but members have been split in recent years and been embroiled in a High Court battle for control over the family trusts that controlled the company.

Family members include property developers and investors Antony and Tracy who are brothers, and their nephew and son respectively, James, who is a Christchurch City councillor.

Gough Group employs about 950 people across its network in more than 50 locations in Australia and New Zealand.

Sime Darby Berhad, is one of the largest Caterpillar dealers globally and is listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

Over the past year Gough Group grew its revenue by more than 18 per cent to $AUD560m from higher sales sales for its Caterpillar and transport and materials handling businesses.

The conditional agreement depends on the approval of NZ’s Overseas Investment Office but this is expected to be formality  and will be completed by the end of September,.

The company is known as Sime Darby Motors in New Zealand operates car dealerships  for brands such as BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Ferrari and Nissan while it is also a commercial vehicle distributor for brands including Volvo, Hino, Mack and UD Trucks.

The New Zealand Caterpillar dealership is one of the oldest Caterpillar equipment dealers outside the United States.

Gough Group also sells to the construction, infrastructure, transport and power industries, with brands including SAF, Palfinger and WABCO.

The purchase will complement Sime Darby’s other businesses in New Zealand and Australia. The company has a workforce of more than 20,000 employees and operations in 18 countries across Asia Pacific.