New owner takes on troubled dairy

By Country News

A company associated with Freedom Foods Group has purchased the troubled Coomboona Dairies operation near Undera, once jointly owned by Australian entrepreneur Gerry Harvey.

Freedom says it will use the relationship with the large dairy to generate milk for its processing operations.

Coomboona Dairies, developed by Asian-based businessman Alex Arena, was placed in voluntary administration in March and failed to sell at auction in September.

Freedom has a specialty UHT plant in Shepparton, which it is currently expanding and has been in the market for expanded milk supplies.

Coomboona Dairies purchaser, Australian Fresh Milk Holdings, also has a large dairy operation, Moxey Farms, in the Lachlan Valley, 300km west of Sydney.

AFMH is a partnership owned by the Moxey and Perich families and other shareholders, including Freedom Foods Group.

Freedom has a 10 per cent equity shareholding in AFMH.

With the acquisition of the Coomboona Dairies operation, AFMH will be the largest dairy producer in Australia, with current operations forecasting more than 150million litres of production into 2019.

Freedom Foods intends to use the supply from Moxey Farms and Coomboona Dairies for its Australia’s Own Kid’s Milk and other dairy product formats.

Coomboona Dairies originally comprised almost 500ha and was planned to be able to handle a herd of about 5000 cows.

The dairy business gained significant coverage when Harvey Norman founder and executive chairman Gerry Harvey announced his company had bought 49.9 per cent of the business in 2015.