The Victorian government will give fruit processor SPC Ardmona $22 million as part of a $100 million co-investment that it says will save the company’s Goulburn Valley cannery.
Premier Denis Napthine said the state has agreed to co-invest with SPC’s parent company Coca-Cola Amatil.
He said the investment secured the future of the Shepparton cannery and would save 2700 jobs.
Coca-Cola Amatil said the total combined $100 million package will be invested over a three-year period into efficiency measures and innovation at SPC Ardmona, the last remaining major fruit and vegetable processor in Australia.
SPC Ardmona managing director Peter Kelly said while the $100 million package was not the original plan, it was significant.
“This $100 million capital investment package, while not the amount we originally planned, is significant and will be immediately put to work by our business to drive new product and packaging innovation and efficiency measures.”
The federal government refused to give SPC a $25 million grant, which would have been topped up by $25 million of state government funds and Coca-Cola Amatil’s own $150 million investment.
Conditions attached to the Victorian government’s $22 million investment include that a minimum of 500 full-time equivalent employees continue to be employed for three years and that Coca-Cola Amatil contribute its $78 million to the overall project cost.
All payments made under the deal must also be refunded if SPC Ardmona stops operating at Shepparton within five years.
Dr Napthine said the deal would be a massive boost for the Goulburn Valley and he’s confident SPC is in for the long haul.
“It is a great day for jobs in Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley, a great day for SPC Ardmona, a great day for our fruit growers and our fruit industry and a fantastic day for Victoria,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.
Dr Napthine said the funds had been made available from existing programs and would not affect the state’s bottom line.
The premier and Mr Kelly will visit the Shepparton cannery later on Thursday afternoon.