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Coca-Cola Amatil considers the sale of its SPC unit in Australia

Coca-Cola Amatil has started a strategic review of SPC, its Australian fruit and vegetable processor, including options to sell the business.

The review will look at how growth can be unlocked, through a change in ownership or a merger.

Group managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil, Alison Watkins, said the review coincides with the completion of a four-year, AUD 100 million ($73.6 million) co-investment in SPC in conjunction with the Victorian government in Australia.

Investment under this agreement was completed in June 2018 and included AUD 22 million ($16.2 million) by the Victorian government and AUD 78 million ($57.4 million) by Coca-Cola Amatil.

“As we said at the time, without this investment the future of Australia’s best-loved packaged fruit and vegetable brands were in question,” Watkins said.

“With this investment we kept SPC operating, invested in modernising the plant and created new business opportunities.

“These included new tomato and high-speed snack lines, a new aseptic fruit processing system and new export opportunities including China, all of which will support ongoing growth.

“The co-investment is complete, and now is the right time to consider options for the business.

“We believe there are many opportunities for growth in SPC, including new products and markets, further efficiency improvements, and technology and intellectual property. The review will look at how this growth could be unlocked, potentially through a change in ownership, alliances or mergers.

“Importantly, there are no plans to close SPC. We see a positive future for SPC as it continues to transform its operations.”

Since acquiring SPC in 2005, Coca-Cola Amatil said it has invested around AUD 250 million ($183.8 million) of capital in the business, including in technology and equipment.

SPC employs about 500 people, mostly around the Goulburn Valley in northern Victoria, where it is a buyer of produce from the area’s fruit and tomato farmers.

SPC’s brands include Goulburn Valley, IXL Jam, Ardmona and Perfect Fruit.

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