Site sale will boost investment in SPC

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Plans afoot: Expansion plans are set for SPC. Photo by Megan Fisher

SPC is promising further investment in its Shepparton operations following the announcement that the company has raised $111 million in a capitalisation program.

The company will be drawing on investment from a superannuation fund and another major investor to generate the funds.

The company has also sold the Shepparton site in a lease-back arrangement.

The new investors will both get a seat on the board.

The company is in the process of transferring a fermented drink line to Shepparton as a result of it acquiring a company called Helping Humans. This particular product, popular in Sydney and made with fruit, vegetables and botanics, has a focus on the premium health food market.

SPC chief executive Robert Giles said the company was looking for food opportunities overseas and was also interested in acquiring local Australian companies that fitted with its mission.

“We are already in talks with a few parties, and expect to complete a key acquisition during 2022.

“We have generated a ‘war chest’, so we will be putting it to good use,” Mr Giles said.

The new growth capital is a combination of equity investments by the Australian Meat Industry Superannuation Trust; Khalil (‘Charlie’) Shahin, managing director of Peregrine Corporation; and the sale and lease-back of the flagship SPC property in Shepparton to fund manager Charter Hall.

SPC chair Hussein Rifai said he couldn’t be happier with the quality of the new partners, all of whom were leaders in their industries.

“But perhaps, most importantly, they are all Australians who support our aspirations of making SPC a global business.”

Australian Meat Industry Superannuation Trust (AMIST) chief executive Murray Rutherford said they were pleased to invest in such an iconic Australian business with a successful turnaround.

“AMIST originated in the Australian food industry and we are delighted to again support the sector. I look forward to participating as a director of SPC and to contributing to its globalisation strategy.”

Mr Shahin is the managing director of the Peregrine Corporation, which was established by his father, Fred Shahin, who migrated to Australia from Palestine in 1984.

The company is one of the largest private employers in South Australia, generating more than $2.8 billion in revenue annually.

Mr Shahin said their investment was a vote of confidence for SPC’s management and strategic plans, particularly the expansion of its Australian and global footprint, with the aim of replacing imports wherever possible.

“The SPC journey is one that I look forward to being part of,” he said.

The sale and lease-back of SPC’s flagship property on Andrew Fairley Ave, Shepparton to Charter Hall is part of the growth capitalisation program. Charter Hall reported $53 billion under management in the past financial year.

Charter Hall chief investment officer Sean McMahon said they were delighted to be part of the SPC success story and looked forward to supporting SPC as its property partner.

The Shepparton SPC factory is currently processing the peach crop and Mr Giles said it was taking all fruit that had been offered.

The company is reporting strong demand for fruit products during the COVID-19 pandemic.