Coca-Cola Amatil has announced the sale of its fruit and vegetable processing business to Shepparton Partners Collective for $40 million.
Shepparton Partners, a joint venture between Perma Funds Management and The Eights, has offered ongoing employment to all permanent members of the SPC team.
“This outcome is good news for SPC and good news for the Goulburn Valley,” Amatil group managing director Alison Watkins said in a statement to the ASX on Tuesday morning.
“Shepparton Partners Collective recognises the value of SPC’s brands, the opportunities for innovation and category growth in Australia and its export potential.”
Under the new ownership, SPC management will be focused on “reducing the complexity in the business, improving the efficiency of working capital and inventory and building domestic and international channels, and product innovation”.
“We are delighted to have acquired SPC, one of Australia’s most iconic businesses,” Perma’s managing director Hussein Rifai said. “We believe there is enormous opportunity to grow this unique 100-year-old brand further domestically and internationally.”
Rifai revealed plans to improve SPC’s current offering with “exciting initiatives, products and solutions that will appeal to a broader market at home and abroad”.
“We need to focus on utilising SPC’s full capacity by creating new, innovative products and exploring new distribution channels,” he said.
Amatil, which has owned SPC since 2005, has invested around $250 million in technology, operational and energy efficiencies as well as new equipment. A $100 million co-investment program was also set up from 2014 to 2018 to modernise production processes.
Amatil announced plans to sell the business last November following a review of the Victorian food unit. In February, Amatil cut its value from $147 million before tax to zero for the 2018 year.
SPC managing director Reg Weine welcomed the sale as an opportunity for the business to pursue growth and innovation and explore options in domestic and international markets.
Shepparton Partners Collective has significant experience in domestic and international food, supply chain, finance, retail, agri-business and technology.
The new owners plan to incentivise both staff and growers to harness experience and encourage creativity within the business.