Finance Consumer Coca-Cola to part ways with iconic canning business SPC Ardmona

Coca-Cola to part ways with iconic canning business SPC Ardmona

spc sold coke
Shepparton-based SPC has been sold. Photo: AAP
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Global food and beverage giant Coca-Cola Amatil has revealed plans to sell off fruit packaging business SPC Ardmona, but is confident the iconic Australian brand has a “positive future” ahead of it.

The possibility of a sale was first flagged in August 2018, and but was confirmed by Coca-Cola Amatil group managing director Alison Watkins on Friday 30 November.

The Friday announcement came as the result of a “strategic review” that found “many opportunities for growth” in the business.

“The review has concluded that the best way to unlock these opportunities is through divestment, enabling SPC to maximise its potential,” Ms Watkins said.

Repeating comments she made in August, Ms Watkins said “there are no plans to close SPC” and that Coca-Cola still sees potential in the fruits and vegetable canning outfit’s future.

The sale will also allow Coca-Cola to focus on its primary business as a “beverages powerhouse”, Ms Watkins said.

A timeline for the sale of SPC – which produces canned fruit and tomatoes amongst other things – has not been set, but a spokesperson for Coca-Cola told The New Daily that the process will “roll out over some months into 2019”.

The spokesperson said Coca-Cola had already received significant interest from possible buyers during the review process, owing to growing demand for the brand in export markets like China.

SPC’s history of struggles

Over the last few years the future of SPC’s viability as a business has been repeatedly doubted, with the business even requesting (and receiving) a helping hand from the Victorian state government under then-premier Denis Napthine, after first being rejected by the federal government.

The $100 million co-investment deal helped foster a 10 per cent increase in sales that quarter and bolstered Coca-Cola’s profits in an otherwise difficult first half financial year.

SPC was able to strike a $70 million deal with supermarket behemoth Woolworths later in 2014 to supply 24,000 extra tonnes of produce.

However in 2016 Woolworth’s decision to end a year-to-year deal for tinned tomatoes again put the business at risk, which also jeopardised the future of the Victorian town of Shepparton.