SPC sold for $40M

By Alana Christensen

SPC has a new owner, with the iconic Shepparton cannery sold for $40million.

The low purchase price has raised the eyebrows of many in the industry and comes 14 years after Coca-Cola Amatil bought the company for almost $500million in 2005.

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

SPC managing director Reg Weine welcomed the sale, saying it had secured ‘‘permanent work for all of our 500-plus employees’’.

The business has been plagued by falling profits, with CCA 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,’’ Mr Rifai said.

‘‘You get good days and bad days. The bad days are all gone and behind us, this is the good days.

‘‘We’re not going anywhere, this business is only going to be bigger and grow more,’’ he said.

‘‘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 it’s been before.’’

Mr Rifai said they would now focus on developing a strategy to take the business forward.

CCA made the decision to sell the company following a strategic review completed in November last year.

Speaking outside the Andrew Fairley Ave factory last Tuesday, CCA group managing director Alison Watkins said it was a ‘‘logical time’’ to sell SPC.

‘‘It’s not without a touch of sadness that we will say goodbye to SPC,’’ Ms Watkins said.

‘‘Seeing it in the right hands is what we wanted to do.’’

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

As part of the sale, CCA will receive a deferred payment of $15million in four years, subject to business performance.