Horticulture

Region optimistic despite SPC being sold

By Country News

The region continues to be optimistic about the future of SPC, with hopes a new buyer can continue to build the company.

Coca-Cola Amatil announced the decision to sell the company on October 30, and group managing director Alison Watkins said there was strong market interest in the iconic Shepparton company.

Former Fruit Growers Victoria chair Gary Godwill said the sale of SPC was not a surprise, but admitted the right buyer would be hard to find.

‘‘I’m hopeful ... (Coca-Cola Amatil) are looking for the right sort of buyer that will continue on with what they’ve done,’’ Mr Godwill said.

‘‘It’s not bad news.

‘‘Had they not injected the money into SPC they had, the company would have gone belly-up, no question about that.

‘‘It’s not a fire sale, it’s not to someone who’s going to asset strip (it).’’

The decision to sell SPC comes after a planned sale of two beloved SPC-owned brands, IXL Jam and Taylor’s Marinade and Sauces, failed to go ahead on October 31.

The company said it would be ‘‘business as usual’’ as SPC continued to look for a buyer for its Shepparton and Kyabram factories.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national food secretary Jason Hefford said the union would work to make sure the eventual sale of SPC was a ‘‘win, win’’ outcome for everyone concerned.

‘‘We are confident that once a new buyer takes over, there will be opportunities to grow the business and continue the proud tradition of food manufacturing essential for the continued wellbeing of workers, local suppliers and the wider community,’’ Mr Hefford said.