22nd November 2021


EcoChill Ltd, a leader in natural refrigerant cooling technology founded by Matthew Darby in 2000, today announced an investment from industrial refrigeration leader Excel Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Ltd. (“Excel”). Excel has acquired a stake in the company – with Darby maintaining a majority shareholding in the business. EcoChill will remain under its own name and Darby, along with EcoChill’s existing senior management team, will continue to oversee daily operations as the Managing Director of EcoChill. Founder and Managing Director of Excel Group, Stephen Frowde, will also be a Director of the EcoChill business. The acquisition will enable EcoChill to accelerate its already rapid growth into new markets, expand its operational footprint, and fuel its commitment to creating innovative, ground-breaking cooling technology for its customers in the race to zero emission cooling.

“This will significantly accelerate our ability to meet the demand for much needed sustainable cold chain capability within New Zealand and the Pacific,” Darby said. “Businesses that rely on cooling face significant issues such as the HFC phasedown and cost and supply risks from existing cooling technology. Now more than ever there is a critical need for companies that rely on cooling to have the right technology to make the right investment decisions. Together with Excel, we have even better opportunities to further our mission of engineering clean cooling for a better world.”

Stephen Frowde, Excel Group said: “EcoChill’s innovation in engineering technology has accelerated adoption of natural cooling technology across New Zealand’s retail and commercial sectors. Combining this with Excel’s extensive experience in the industrial sector and ammonia expertise makes this investment a natural fit. Excel’s extensive North Island branch network further extends EcoChill’s scale and capability whilst EcoChill’s South Island presence further enables Excel to develop a national presence. Combined, this partnership makes the Excel Group the largest Refrigeration and Air Conditioning company in New Zealand with over 300 employees nationwide, whilst remaining 100% New Zealand owned. We’re honoured Matthew and his team have placed their trust in Excel as their partner of choice to further accelerate EcoChill’s growth and look forward to what the business will achieve with our full set of resources behind it.”

This acquisition is the culmination of a significant journey for Darby and EcoChill. EcoChill was founded by Darby 21 years ago when he and then partner Mark Patrick started the business, trading as Technicool Refrigeration Services, from his garage. Darby, who has come through the trade on the tools and started as an apprentice, has gone on to develop Technicool into EcoChill a full suite design, build and installation business dedicated to the development of cooling solutions that perform at the highest standards and significantly reduce global warming and emission impacts.

EcoChill is a leader in engineering natural refrigerant systems and has pioneered cooling technology including the design and installation of the first Glycol, Propylene and Transcritical CO2 cooling systems in the country. They are also the exclusive authorised New Zealand agent for the Arneg Group of products including Arneg, INCOLD, Frigadon, Oscartielle and Intrac.

Frowde continued: “On a personal level, I am deeply proud of Excel and what the team have achieved. Today’s investment in EcoChill is the most recent example of several innovative New Zealand engineering companies the Excel Group is proud to back. This includes our latest transactions Rivet, a creative stainless and sheet metal manufacturer, and another addition to ICE Electrical, Cast-Iron Services. “

Excel are making its investment in EcoChill through its main Excel entity, with both brands continuing to operate independently.

#CleanCooling #Racetozero #GoNatRef


Founded by Matthew Darby in 2000 as Technicool Refrigeration, EcoChill are specialists in natural refrigeration solutions and the development of zero emission cooling technology. Integrating Technicool and Arneg New Zealand in 2006 the company was later rebranded to EcoChill as one of the first refrigeration companies in New Zealand to recognise the importance of developing sustainable cooling pathways for the future. Working with customers to design and deliver high performing, safe, cooling solutions with lower environmental impacts, EcoChill are consistently identifying and solving problems from a customer point of view. 100% New Zealand owned and operated, EcoChill are the exclusive authorised New Zealand agent for the Arneg Group of products including Arneg, INCOLD, Frigadon, Oscartielle and Intrac. EcoChill’s mission is to engineer clean cooling for a better world. 
Further information is available at Follow EcoChill on LinkedIn. 

For media or other enquiries:  
Matthew Darby
Email:    Phone: 021 300 225 


Excel Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Limited is a 100% New Zealand owned and operated Refrigeration and Air Conditioning solutions provider to the industrial and commercial market. Founded in 2005 by Stephen Frowde, Stephen and co-owner Craig Heerdegen, have grown the business to a highly skilled team of over 250 staff servicing the North Island from 11 offices nationwide. The Excel Group includes Rivet, a creative stainless steel and sheet metal fabricator and Taranaki based ICE Electrical. Committed to providing excellence in technical solutions, Excel significantly invest in their people and business delivering high quality engineering support and solutions for customers. 
Further information at  Follow Excel on LinkedIn.  

For media or other enquiries:  
Stephen Frowde
Email: Phone: 021 301 545 

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