Sale of SPC announced

By Alana Christensen

SPC workers have been assured their jobs are safe despite Coca-Cola Amatil selling the iconic Shepparton business for $40 million.

The sale comes just six months after Coca-Cola Amatil put the business on the market and 14 years after buying SPC for almost $500 million.

New owners Shepparton Partners Collective — a joint venture between Sydney-based investment firms Perma Funds Management and The Eights — are expected to officially take over the business by the end of June and pledged to keep it intact.

SPC managing director Reg Weine welcomed the sale and said it secured ‘‘permanent work for all of our 500 plus employees’’.

The business has been plagued by falling profits, with C-CA writing down its value from $146million to $0 in February.

However, Perma managing director Hussein Rifai said the future for SPC was bright, labelling it a ‘‘growth opportunity’’.

‘‘I think a lot of times businesses are like human beings. You get good days and bad days. The bad days are all gone and behind us, this is the good days,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re not going anywhere, this business is only going to be bigger and grow more .. All we’re trying to do is create a bigger engine for the same truck to drive faster, drive longer and take this business hopefully to heights that are well and truly above where its been before.’’

Mr Rifai said Shepparton Partners Collection had experience across a range of industries, including agribusiness, supply chain management, finance and business and would look at all aspects of the business moving forward.

‘‘We’re considering everything,’’ he said.

‘‘We have a lot of work to do with the management team to see what’s right for the business, and whatever that is is what we’re going to be pursuing.’’

Coca-Cola Amatil has invested about $250million since acquiring the business in 2005, including a $100million co-investment with the Victorian Government, which contributed $22million from 2014 to 2018 to modernise the business and expand product lines.

Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum was hopeful positive progress would be seen in the coming months.

‘‘There will obviously be genuine concern but it seems as though (Shepparton Partners Collective) have a proven track record,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s very important they straight out have no interest in downsizing. Their sole objective from day one is to grow the business.’’