AUSTRALIA – Coca-Cola Amatil has agreed to sell its SPC fruit and vegetable business to Shepparton Partners Collective and its group of companies in a deal worth AUD 40 million (US$27.9 million).

The sale of the business which has reported losses in years is expected to be completed before the end of June.

The divestment is part of the company’s business review process which began in August 2018 as it strives to achieve profitability in Australia, a market characterized by declining beverage volumes.

The new owners have committed grow SPC and will offer employment to all permanent staff at the plant.

“This outcome is good news for SPC and good news for the Goulburn Valley,” said Group Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil Alison Watkins.

“Shepparton Partners Collective recognises the value of SPC’s brands, the opportunities for innovation and category growth in Australia, and its export potential.

“On behalf of Amatil, I thank everyone at SPC for their commitment to the business. “The combination of Shepparton Partners Collective, Reg and the team ensures SPC is in safe hands.”

Founded in 1917, SPC is based in Richmond, Australia processing fruits and vegetables for customers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, South East Asia, Germany, and Scandinavia.

Some of its common brands include IXL Jam and Taylor’s Marinade and Sauces brands.

It recently launched Australia’s first organic canned tomato, ProVital with a commitment to expand its capabilities in new export markets.

According to SPC Managing Director Reg Weine, the sale provides an opportunity for SPC to continue its transformation and pursue new opportunities in domestic and international markets.

Shepparton Partners Collective Shepparton Partners Collective is a joint venture between Perma Funds Management and The Eights.

“We are delighted to have acquired SPC, one of Australia’s most iconic businesses. We believe there is enormous opportunity to grow this unique 100-year-old brand further domestically and internationally,” said Mr Hussein Rifai, Managing Director, Perma Funds Management.

“The investments made by Coca-Cola Amatil over the years have ensured SPC represents the best of breed in equipment, safety and manufacturing standards and personnel.

“We need to focus on utilising SPC’s full capacity by creating new, innovative products and exploring new distribution channel.”

Since acquiring the SPC business in 2005, Amatil has invested around US$183 million (AUD 250 million) including in technology, operational and energy efficiencies, and new equipment.