Sales and earnings at Australian packaged fruit and veg business SPC Ardmona have fallen, hit by cheaper imports, owner Coca-Cola Amatil has reported.

The Coke bottler said yesterday (20 August) SPC Ardmona had "experienced a decline in volume and earnings" during the six months to the end of June but did not provide specific figures.

EBIT from Coca-Cola Amatil's alcohol, food and service division - which houses SPC Ardmona - fell 10% to A$44.8m (US$40.4m), a result "driven" by the lower earnings at the food business. Trading revenue from the division fell 3.5% to A$317.6m.

The lower profits at SPC Ardmona were a factor in Coca-Cola Amatil reporting a 6.9% fall in half-year earnings.

Coca-Cola Amatil has warned throughout the year about the impact imports are having on SPC Ardmona. In February, the company announced a "significant" write-down of assets and goodwill at SPC Ardmona amid competition from abroad.

Last month, Australia's new anti-dumping body agreed to look into claims from SPC Ardmona that South Africa is dumping peaches into the country.

Speaking as Coca-Cola Amatil reported its results, MD Terry Davis said: "Many countries have used the high Australian dollar to dump packaged fruit product into the market at below cost. SPCA has applied for temporary tariff protection and has also lodged an anti-dumping application with the Australian Government. The application seeks tariffs ranging from 30-50% on imported packaged fruit being dumped into Australia which would assist in providing a more level playing field for Australian grown and produced product. SPCA has also applied for a government grant to support restructuring, cost out and for future packaged fruit and vegetable innovation."

Coca-Cola Amatil said the "longer-term outlook" for SPC Ardmona depends on the company's moves to restructure the business to cut costs, the applications on anti-dumping and for government support and on "retailer and consumer support" for its "Australian grown produce".

It added: "It is expected that the business will have more clarity around the likely longer term outcomes of some of these initiatives by the end of the year with the valuation and operating structure of SPCA to be reviewed by the end of the second half."

Click here for the full results announcement from Coca-Cola Amatil.