SPC sale completed to Shepparton Partners Collective

By Ashlea Witoslawski

The sale of fruit and vegetable processing business SPC has been completed, with Coca-Cola Amatil finalising the sale to Shepparton Partners Collective Pty Ltd on Friday for $40million.

Coca-Cola Amatil first announced the sale early last month, following a nine-month review and divestment process which started in August.

Coca-Cola Amatil was expected to record a profit of about $14million, taking into account forecasted working capital balances and adjustments to the sale price as well as costs of disposal.

The agreement includes a four-year earnout structure, which could result in an additional $15million of sale proceeds, depending on performance.

During the announcement last month, SPC managing director Reg Weine said many transformations had taken place since the business risked closure in 2014, including a partnership with China State Farm Agribusiness to expand the companies exporting range, an investment in a new state-of-art tomato processing line and the launch of Australia’s first organic canned tomato.

The Shepparton site also received new infrastructure developments through a $100million co-investment program between Coca-Cola Amatil and the Victorian Government from 2014.

‘‘Whilst we’ve made some great progress I’m confident we can do more,’’ Mr Weine said.

‘‘We thank Coca-Cola Amatil for their support since 2005 and welcome the chance to explore new options with Shepparton Partners Collective.’’

Coca-Cola Amatil group managing director Alison Watkins said the completion of the sale would see the company again focus on beverages.

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

‘‘On behalf of Amatil, I thank everyone at SPC for their commitment to the business and wish them well in continuing to grow their domestic and international markets.

Shepparton Partners Collective is a joint venture between Sydney-based groups Perma Funds Management, an investment and finance house, and The Eights, a private equity firm.

Mr Weine said the new owners had committed to offering continuing employment to all of SPC’s permanent staff during last month’s announcement.

‘‘That’s great news for our team and a vote of confidence in SPC,’’ he said.