TasFoods, the fledgling Australian business that has grown in the last 12 months around three acquisitions, has said it is in “a strong position” for more deals.
The company, formerly OnCard International, a business that had been focused on payment and rewards in Asia, switched its focus to food in September last year with the acquisition of Tasmanian dairy group Meander Valley Dairy. In March, TasFoods acquired an option to buy local poultry processor Nichols Poultry, finalising the deal in June. The same month, TasFoods bought Australian spices firm Shima Wasabi.
Alongside financial results for the six months to the end of June, TasFoods CEO Jane Bennett said the company’s focus in the second half of its financial year would be “one of integration and consolidation” but added: “The company is in a strong position to exploit any opportunities for mergers and acquisitions as they arise and the senior management and board will continue to evaluate opportunities presented that are in-line with our Tasmanian-sourced, premium food production.”
TasFoods’ push into food has not been without problems. Last autumn, TasFoods made a failed bid for Tasmanian farming group The Van Diemen’s Land Company. After TasFoods tabled its bid, it emerged Chinese-owned company Moon Lake Investments had made a binding offer for Van Diemen’s. TasFoods launched legal action against the owner of Van Diemen’s and, in January this year, announced a legal settlement that saw it receive AUD1.25m (US$940,000).
TasFoods used the announcement of its half-year results to provide an update for plans on each of its three assets. It is to relocate its dairy operations by the end of this calendar year. Meander Valley Dairy is to move 28km further south to the city of Launceston. TasFoods said the “new and improved” factory will “significantly improve processing capacity”.
Meanwhile, in June, TasFoods bought 500 goats, ten bucks and equipment from local dairy Cosy Goats to build up a supply of goat’s milk.
At Nichols Poultry, TasFoods is developing on-pack branding to tout the fact its chicken products are antibiotic-free, chlorine-free and free from added water. It is also trialling a free-range chicken raising system.
At Shima, TasFoods has applied to build a second greenhouse and is also building up its stock of powdered wasabi to distribute to the retail market.
TasFoods booked a first-half net loss of AUD1.6m thanks, it said, to the cost of its acquisitions. It also made an operating loss of AUD1.6m. The company’s revenue stood at AUD2m.