Sali makes SPC bid

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Ge­off Adams

A for­mer SPC chair­man has lodged an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est in the sale of the fruit pro­cess­ing com­pany fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment by owner Co­caCola Amatil that it will be of­fered for sale.

Sun­shine Coast lawyer Haset Sali, who was voted off the SPC board in 1990 in a ma­jor board­room coup, is be­lieved to be in­ter­ested in re­turn­ing to SPC.

Mr Sali was a di­rec­tor for 14 years, chair­man for eight years and still has fam­ily con­nec­tions with the Goul­burn Val­ley.

In a story pub­lished in the Sun­shine Coast Daily, Mr Sali said he had lodged an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est and his con­cern was to see the busi­ness re­turn to be­ing a mar­ket-driven com­pany.

‘‘SPC has a great her­itage and with the right lead­er­ship I be­lieve it can have a great fu­ture for the ben­e­fit of the re­gion’s or­chardists, sup­pli­ers, staff, share­hold­ers and Aus­tralia’s econ­omy,’’ Mr Sali told the news­pa­per.

He said the pro­posed sale of SPC pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for in­vestors with an in­ter­est in lead­ing SPC into a new growth phase, cap­i­tal­is­ing on global in­ter­est in the nat­u­ral good­ness of fruit and clean nu­tri­tional prod­ucts.

The story said Mr Sali was now wait­ing for a date to con­duct a due dili­gence and in­spec­tion of the plant and equip­ment.

Mr Sali’s fi­nal years with SPC were marked by some dis­agree­ment among grow­ers about how the com­pany was be­ing run.

In his gov­er­nor­ship the com­pany had achieved profit in a num­ber of years, but in 1990 recorded an $11 mil­lion loss. Neigh­bour­ing Ard­mona Fruit Prod­ucts made a $1 mil­lion profit in the same pe­riod.

The com­pany went on to re­cover un­der new man­age­ment and with the sup­port of em­ploy­ees who took a pay cut.

In re­cent years, new owner Coca-Cola Amatil has been un­able to ex­tract a profit from the busi­ness and has strug­gled to take the costs out of the oper­a­tion and com­pete with cheaper im­ports.

The com­pany was also un­able to get gov­ern­ments to com­mit to their de­part­ments giv­ing pref­er­en­tial pur­chas­ing to the Aus­tralian prod­uct.

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