AUSTRALIA – Japanese multinational beverage company Suntory Beverage & Food (SBF) is selling its Australian coffee business to UCC Coffee subsidiary, UCC ANZ Management for A$229 million (US$165m). 

The business operating under the name Suntory Coffee Australia Limited (SCA) is one of the largest groups of coffee roasters in Australia and New Zealand. 

It is comprised of major brands including Toby’s Estate, which also has operations in Singapore, as well as New Zealand-based Caffe L’Affare, Atomic Coffee Roasters, Bruno Rossi and Robert Harris.  

SCA also controls Australian coffee equipment, spare parts and service provider, Espresso Mechanics. 

SBF’s fresh coffee business CEO for the region Dean Divehall said the company had been conducting a strategic review for the last six months. 

“We assessed options that would maximise value of the fresh coffee business in this region, including the opportunity to enhance value under potential new ownership,” Divehall said. 

“The sale to UCC represents a positive outcome for employees, customers and wider stakeholders of our fresh coffee business in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.”  

Japan-headquartered UCC UCC is a global coffee business that manages coffee estates, raw ingredient procurement and importing, R&D and quality assurance, manufacturing, product distribution and sales. 

UCC Group CEO Gota Ueshima said the addition of the fresh coffee business was “highly complementary” to its existing operations. 

“We intend to maximise the potential of UCC and the fresh coffee business to achieve dynamic and sustainable growth in the global coffee market,” Ueshima said. 

SBF however noted that the sale agreement does not impact its other businesses in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. 

The sale comes at a time when SBF’s parent company Suntory Holdings is moving to expand in India and Southeast Asia. 

 The company has revealed plans to serve up a new gin for Southeast Asian drinkers in April and is said to be considering contract production in India as it looks to profit from the country’s burgeoning middle class.  

The company is also planning to begin exporting its Sui gin to Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and South Korea in April, the first time it will market the brand outside its home market. 

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