Flow-on ef­fects of SPC sale

Shepparton News - - SNVIEWPOINT - Louis Cook Numurkah

Please per­mit me to com­ment on your ar­ti­cle ‘SPC on the mar­ket’, De­cem­ber 1.

The News re­ports ‘‘Coca-Cola Amatil’s pro­posed sale of SPC has been met with cau­tious op­ti­mism by City of Greater Shep­par­ton Mayor Kim O’Keefe who said at least two po­ten­tial buy­ers were in the wings after she re­ceived a pri­vate brief­ing some weeks ago.’’

Chi­nese per­haps? I hope it is not an­other sell-off to for­eign in­ter­ests.

And fur­ther, ‘‘Com­mit­tee for Greater Shep­par­ton chief ex­ec­u­tive Sam Bir­rell said while SPC was im­por­tant to the re­gion, gone were the days of Shep­par­ton be­ing a one-com­pany town.

‘‘Shep­par­ton doesn’t rise and fall on SPC the way it used to,’’ he said.’’

The trail of SPC and sis­ter com­pany Ard­mona Fruit Prod­ucts is worth study as an in­dict­ment of poor busi­ness man­age­ment; or is it some­thing else?

The two com­pa­nies were built up and pro­moted as ‘world lead­ers’ in their class, then in less than 30 years have been amal­ga­mated, in­ter­na­tion­alised, and now not re­garded as a good in­vest­ment for Coca Cola Amatil.

CCA re­ceived gov­ern­ment sup­port which I sur­mise will not be forth­com­ing to any fu­ture buyer, so are Shep­par­ton ratepay­ers to be chal­lenged for fi­nance? A hor­ri­ble thought.

Mr Bir­rell does not ap­pear to un­der­stand ru­ral in­dus­try me­chan­ics ei­ther.

What about the work gen­er­ated in the or­chards, the ma­te­ri­als in­put re­quired to op­er­ate a fruit grow­ing busi­ness, the flow-on to the com­mu­nity as a whole?

Then there is the ir­ri­gation in­dus­try rid­ing on the backs of or­chardists and other landown­ers?

The mayor and Mr Bir­rell should go for a drive around the coun­try­side, off the main roads, and see how it is far­ing, then they might un­der­stand why the cen­tral busi­ness area is not boom­ing.

Mean­while, coun­cil rates will con­tinue to rise re­gard­less of af­ford­abil­ity.

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