SPC Ardmona (SPCA) can still have a future in the Goulburn Valley, according to GV Foods Co-op chairman, Les Cameron.
The GV Food Co-op was set up in the wake of the exit of another of the region’s major food processors, Heinz, in 2012.
Mr Cameron said he believed the federal government’s decision not to fund improvements in SPCA’s facilities to the tune of $25 million would not prove a death knell to the company.
“It is a relatively small sum of money in the scheme of things; we at the Co-op think we could be in a position to help with the capital raising, whether that be by giving SPC Ardmona the rights to make our two successful products or whatever it is.”
In return, Mr Cameron said he would expect SPCA’s parent company Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) to make certain concessions.
He said he agreed with Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision not to give money to CCA on some levels.
“The company does need to stand on its own two feet, but equally we have to be sure not to lose this infrastructure for the region.”
He said he did not think a farmer-based buyback of SPCA would be feasible.
“We are talking big sums of money there, it would be better if we can find a model where SPC is profitable.”
He said this would be through a combination of export and domestic focus, and by being more nimble in adapting to market requirements.
“What was in the kitchen four years ago isn’t what is there today.
“You need to have the ability to get new products on the ground quickly.”
He said SPCA needed to exploit Mr Abbott’s offer to help facilitate exports and push for other changes that would benefit the business.
“The obvious one there is in terms of labelling laws, and getting a better country of origin labelling system.
In terms of costs and efficiencies, Mr Cameron said CCA had made serious investments in its Goulburn Valley assets.
“They have worked hard to cut down the inefficiencies within the business that were there when they bought it.”