Coca-Cola Amatil is reportedly preparing to sell its Australian fruit and vegetable unit, SPC Ardmona, next year.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Coca-Cola Amatil managing director Alison Watkins indicated the investment in SPC Ardmona will come under review next year when the three-year term of a co-funding agreement with the Victorian government comes to an end.
Coca-Cola Amatil took control of SPC Ardmona in 2005 for AUD700m (US$534.1m). When Watkins took over as MD in 2014 she indicated that the company did not plan to sell SPC.
However, the fruit and vegetable processor has seen its performance come under pressure in recent years. The Australian packaged fruit and vegetable sector as a whole has been hit by intensifying competition from cheaper imported products.
The Australian Financial Review said that Kraft Heinz and Simplot have both been touted as potential suitors for the business. Given the strong interest from Asia – and China especially – in Australian-made food products, it is also possible that a would-be buyer could come from countries such as China or the Philippines.
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