The IMCD Group has announced it'll be joining forces with Network Nutrition, a Sydney-based distributor of botanical, nutritional and plant enzyme-based raw materials, as of 1 October.
Adding to this, the IMCD Group, a global company specialising in the sales, marketing and distribution of specialty chemicals and food ingredients, recently acquired Capitol Ingredients Australia, making it one of the largest specialised natural ingredients providers.
IMCD managing director, Rene den Hertog, said IMCD and Network Nutrition are both confident the integration will benefit their suppliers and customers.
"The IMCD operation will extend the reach of the Network Nutrition range in key target markets like Europe and Asia, where the value proposition they have demonstrated in the Australian and New Zealand market can also be leveraged.
"By aligning Network Nutrition’s strength in herbal extracts with the breadth of IMCD’s focus in the natural healthcare market, we are perfectly positioned to provide a comprehensive portfolio of products and innovative solutions to the market both here in Australia and New Zealand and internationally," den Hertog said.
Ryan Gorman, CEO, Network Nutrition added that by merging Network Nutrition’s activities into the IMCD structure, the opportunities for growth and development are considerable. "This is an important stage in the evolution of our brand and our partner brands. It presents our customers with even greater advantages and benefits," he said.
All Network Nutrition products will continue under the same brand names whilst employees will transfer to IMCD Australia and New Zealand.
Multinational food packaging and processing giant Tetra Pak has acquired DSS Silkeborg, a Danish dairy membrane filtration company.
DSS Silkeborg, which is a privately held company specialising in designing, developing and commissioning membrane filtration systems for dairy applications, will become an integral part of Tetra Pak’s processing division.
“Becoming an integral part of Tetra Pak, a large multinational company focused on the dairy sector, offers DSS an opportunity for a new phase of growth in the global dairy industry,” says Niels Osterlan, co-founder and managing director of DSS.
Tim High, Executive Vice President Processing Systems, Tetra Pak, said that the acquisition will enable Tetra Pak to provide customers with a wide range of processing solutions with minimal environmental impact.
“The acquisition of DSS adds to Tetra Pak’s expertise in membrane filtration technology, enabling us to provide our customers with an even wider range of processing solutions for dairy, cheese and whey as well as other beverages and prepared foods,” said High.
“The integration of DSS’s expertise with Tetra Pak’s energy, waste and water reduction technologies will provide our customers with processing solutions designed to reduce their carbon and water footprint as well as their operational costs.”
As part of the deal, DSS will remain in Denmark under its current management team as part of Tetra Pak’s Cheese and Powder business unit, and all existing sales channels will be supplemented through Tetra Pak’ global market operations.
Unilever has announced it's entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Australian tea business, T2, for an undisclosed amount.
T2 generated sales approaching $57 million for the 12 month period ending June 30, 2013.
Kevin Havelock, Unilever president for refreshment said, "T2 is a fast growing premium tea business with great potential. Unilever is the biggest tea company in the world with brands like Lipton – one of Unilever’s ‘billion-plus’ brands – available in more than 70 countries. This will allow us to bring the benefits of scale and access to new markets to the T2 business and for both businesses to share tea category expertise.
The current T2 business operates 40 stores and its range of teas and tea wares are sold in restaurants throughout the country.
Tea is a strategically important category for Unilever Australia, said Unilever Australasia chairman, Clive Stiff said, "Our Lipton and Bushells brands are two of Australia’s oldest and best loved tea brands … We know tea drinkers are increasingly looking for new and diverse tea flavours, so we are delighted to be bringing T2’s premium and exciting range into the fold. T2 is a great Australian success story – a story that we now intend to continue with Unilever.”
T2 founder and managing director, Maryanne Shearer, said the acquisition will help the brand reach its full potential. “We are delighted that we have found a home for T2 that has such a depth of knowledge of tea and has pioneered sustainability in the industry," she said.
“We often get criticised for trying to be protective. I actually look around the world and I see many, many countries being equally protective of their own core assets.” – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, third leaders' debate, 21 August.
In their final election debate at the Rooty Hill RSL Club, both leaders were asked about foreign investment of agricultural land in Australia.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott confirmed the Coalition’s plan to lower the threshold for Foreign Investment Review Board examination of foreign purchases of agricultural land from A$248 million down to A$15 million.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he was “not quite as free market" as Abbott and that he preferred joint ventures between foreign-owned companies and Australian companies when it came to owning agricultural land. Rudd also made the above statement, which suggested that other nations were also concerned about foreign ownership of agricultural land.
So is the Prime Minister right?
Australia’s regulation of foreign investment is not strict by international standards. On a continuum from prohibition through to promotion (through subsidies or favourable tax arrangements, for instance), Australia tends toward minimal restriction in practice of foreign investment.
All proposed foreign government investment and private investment proposals worth more than A$248 million must be notified to the Foreign Investment Review Board within Treasury. Investment from the United States and New Zealand is much more leniently treated, with a higher $1078 million threshold.
Investment proposals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, applying a national interest test that is open as to what can be considered. Stated criteria specific to agricultural land include access to land and water, productivity and security of agricultural production, biodiversity and employment. This test is apparently weak, as almost all applications are approved, including about A$55 billion in agriculture and mining in 2011-2012.
Foreign investments below the thresholds are not scrutinised, and companies may strategically keep proposals below the threshold.
So the formal review process appears unlikely to restrict foreign investment. But this needs to be seen in context. About 99 percent of the companies that own agricultural land are entirely Australian-owned (and these own 89 percent of agricultural land in Australia). Nevertheless, foreign ownership is rising.
Comparing rules between countries is difficult because nations vary in the way they regulate. Many countries, including the US and Canada, also have restrictions at the regional or provincial level that are greater than at the national level.
Rules may look strict on paper in some countries, but there is little monitoring or enforcement of them. Many countries discriminate between countries when it comes to foreign investment. For instance, European Union countries are meant to allow investment by other EU countries on the same basis as domestic investment, while foreign investment from non-EU countries may be more restricted.
To complicate matters further, the level of policy and regulatory attention can depend on the existing level of foreign ownership, the proportion of agricultural land and the economic dependence on agricultural and mining production and export. Developing countries often have weak or absent institutions for regulation, which affects their ability to address the market failures in this area.
Given those caveats, we can say that foreign investment is more restricted than domestic investment for all 34 members of the developed nations in the OECD (and 10 non-OECD members) which are signatories to the OECD’s principle of “national treatment”. This means that foreign enterprises should be treated no less favourably than domestic.
At least 15 of these 44 countries have additional regulation specific to foreign investment in rural land. This is summarised in the table above
The table includes countries referred to in a recent Senate inquiry report on Foreign Investment and the National Interest, which compared the regulatory contexts of “countries with agricultural land that has experienced increasing levels of foreign investment [and] have made regulatory changes to meet this challenge”, denoted by **.
This is indicative of some movement away from the “national treatment” initiative, which had been intended to free up international capital movements since the Global Financial Crisis.
Overall, many countries are at least equally or more protective of their “core assets” as Australia, so Kevin Rudd is broadly right. This is particularly the case for countries at comparable economic levels and with a significant land resource and rural sector. Some other countries are moving more towards such protections.
This is a good piece, well supported by detailed analysis that demonstrates Kevin Rudd is broadly right. As the author notes, there has been recent tightening in a number of nations, including in previously unrestricted Argentina. Also in South America, Colombia is experiencing widespread civil unrest due to the effects of its US Free Trade Agreement, so tightening or some other significant public response can be soon expected there.
The author notes the favoured treatment that Australia affords US and NZ investors. This is due to the agreed bilateral trade agreements – and it seems that China wants similar treatment if it is to sign a free trade agreement with Australia. It is worth noting that these bilateral “free trade” agreements are actually bilateral “preferential trade and foreign investment” agreements (but cannot be termed “preferential” as such things are illegal under the WTO). – Mark McGovern
The Conversation is fact checking political statements in the lead-up to this year’s federal election. Statements are checked by an academic with expertise in the area. A second academic expert reviews an anonymous copy of the article.
Request a check at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the statement you would like us to check, the date it was made, and a link if possible.
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Coca-Cola Amatil has struck a deal with Molson Coors, the world's seventh largest brewer, to distribute a number of its beers in the Australian market.
The beverage giant is said to have acquired the rights to Carling, Coors Light, Caffrey's and Blue Moon, but may face criticism from investors and analysts for investing in a venture that could take a long time to deliver results.
According to the AFR, one analyst said, "If they got a big brand like Corona that already has a market share of about six percent or seven percent, you can understand it [the strategy] … But they are not going to do that. Instead, this really seems a bit like rats and mice."
In May 2012, CCA won agreements to distribute Modelo's Coronoa Extra, Carlsberg, Molson Coors' Coors Light, Carling and Cobra brands in Fiji, PNG, Somoa, New Zealand and Guam. The agreements are performance-based and form part of the company's efforts to become the Australian distributor for the big brewers, once it's two-year ban from the beer market draws to a close in December.
It also entered a joint venture with Rekorderlig, becoming the sole distributor and importer of the popular cider brand, effective from 1 January, 2014.
Despite these ventures, brokers are sceptical about how much progress CCA can make in Australia's beer market, doubting its ability to get its hands on big brands like Corona, Heineken and Carlsberg, which are currently tied up in long term contracts with large rivals like Lion and Coopers.
However, CCA MD, Terry Davis, said Australian brewing margins are some of the highest in the world and retailers would welcome a third player in the market, currently dominated by Lion and Foster's.
Shareholders of SunRice, one of Australia’s largest exporters of processed branded food products, have raised concerns over the potential foreign ownership of the company should it be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
Corporate changes will be voted on next week at the company’s annual general meeting, however SunRice will not disclose when growers will be able to vote on a proposal to list on the ASX, ABC Rural reports.
“We've said to our people very clearly, we're not going to go to you unless we think we've got something that will be suitable for you,” said SunRice chairman, Gerry Lawson.
Werribee farmer, Julian Manegazzo said that SunRice could be vulnerable to a takeover bid due as he believes that the company is undervalued.
"Ebro made us an offer a couple of years ago for $5.02 and the majority of owner-shareholders went for that,” said Manegazzo.
"We could get an $8, $9, $10 takeover offer and we could lose the company.
"The way I would protect it is by getting the share value high. I don't want to see overseas interests takeover of SunRice."
The importance of keeping the Nation’s food processing companies in Australian hands has been a highly sensitive topic of late. The proposed takeover of GrainCorp by US agribusiness giant – Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has fuelled the debate with Nationals leader, Warren Truss stating that Australia could eventually lose control of its Agribusiness sector.
“It now faces another critical test. The government must deal with the proposed takeover of Australia’s largest listed agribusiness, GrainCorp, by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) – a US giant that is the second largest grain business in the world,” said Truss.
“This bid would mean that every grain export facility in Queensland, NSW, SA and all but half of one in Victoria, would be foreign owned.”
Cooks Food Group has announced that it has entered a conditional sale and purchase agreement to acquire fresh fruit and vegetable processor, Progressive Processors Limited.
Progressive Processors will be acquired through shares in Cooks Food Group (Cooks) with no cash component payable. It has been proposed that a first tranche of 2.5 million shares will be issued at completion with three further tranches of shares to be issued over the next three years.
The agreement will be subject to approval by Cooks shareholders as well as NZAX listing rules.
Cooks are also seeking approval for the acquisition of Franchise Development Limited, Esquires Coffee (UK) Limited and Esquires Coffee Houses Ireland Limited – which was announced earlier this year.
In addition to the acquisition of the offshore Esquires Coffee Houses business, Cooks believes that the purchase of Progressive Processors will add strategic value to the company’s portfolio.
The acquisition will allow the company to have greater control of its operations and act as suppliers of product to Esquires Coffee Houses where it is economical to do so.
Cooks chairman Keith Jackson says that the acquisition of Progressive Processors is in line with the company’s commitment to export high quality product around the globe.
“And that includes through the Esquires Coffee Houses network which we will seek to substantially grow. We are delighted to welcome Neil and his team to the Group and look forward to formalising all transactions shortly,” said Jackson.
The acquisition of Progressive Processors and Esquires Coffee Houses will be presented to shareholders in September.
Coca-Cola has acquired the non-alcholic beverage brand, Cascade, with the new revitalised range hitting shelves in August.
The Cascade range comprises adult sparking drinks, sparking apple juice, fruit syrups and cordials, which have undergone a brand refresh include a new packaging design and improved formulations.
A variety of Cascade mixes will also be added to the range, including tonic water, dry ginger ale, soda water, cranberry, lime and soda.
Scott Cameron, group marketing manager for new growth platforms at Coca-Cola, said "For some time, we have been looking for opportunities to expand our portfolio of beverages to appeal to a broader base of Australian adult consumers, in a category worth an estimated $1.2 billion, growing 10 percent. This acquisition is part of our plans for growth in this area."
Bulla Dairy Foods has acquired Rowena Foods, the maker of the iconic Choc Top ice cream.
The deal will see Bulla take over operations at the Dandenong South manufacturing plant from 1 July 2013, retaining 100 percent of the staff.
Bulla Dairy Foods general manager commercial, David Sloan, said the acquisition of Rowena Foods is a logical expansion for the company and of benefit to both parties.
"At Bulla, we take pride in crafting Australian made dairy products that give enjoyment to families everywhere, which parallels Rowena’s reputation for manufacturing the iconic Australian made Choc Top," he said.
"This acquisition enables Bulla to access the cinema channel for the first time, while using our extensive experience in the ice cream category to ignite growth."
Australia's biggest wine group, Treasury Wine Estates, has bought Brown Brothers' White Hills vineyard in Tasmania's Tamar Valley.
A statement issued by TWE said the acquisition builds on the brand's recent vineyard acquisitions in South Australia.
David Dearie, CEO, said "Our commitment to Tasmanian wine is already strong, with the region home to some wonderful brandsin our portfolio – Heemskerk and Abel’s Tempest. It is also an increasingly important source of fruit for Penfolds, so I’m particularly excited to be increasing ourinvestment in Tasmania at a time when the region is becoming better known andmuch sought after around the world."
Established in 2004, White Hills consists of 83 planted hectares (116 total hectares) of high quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer grapes.
"The acquisition of White Hills supports TWE’s long term strategy of owning or controlling vineyards that supply grapes for our luxury wine portfolio. Over the last 18 months we have invested heavily in premium grape and wine production capacity globally, and this is a logical next step."
Settlement of the acquisition is expected in late July.
Gruppo Campari, has acquired contract beverage packer, Copack for $20m.
Copack, which specialises in can and glass packaging, is currently used by the beverage company for ready-to-drink sourcing, and is the supplier for Campari's Wild Turkey drinks in Australia.
The deal means Campari acquires its own in-house manufacturing facilities for the Australian market. According to a Gruppo Campari statement, the acquisition will also allow the company to strengthen international supply chain capabilities, heighten quality control, further support innovative capabilities and support growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
Other popular Gruppo Campari beverages are SKYY Vodka, Campari, Frangelico, Aperol as well as sparkling wine Riccadonna.
Gruppo Campari currently owns and operates 15 plants in nine countries. It also owns and operates four wineries: three in Italy and one in France.
National packaging group, Pro-Pac Packaging, has acquired Eco Food Pack Australia, which develops and sells food packaging trays for fresh meat, seafood and poultry.
Sydney-based Eco's range of trays are used by fresh food processors to pack product into retail packs predominantly sold through market supermarket chains.
Current annualised revenues for Eco are approximately $12m.
Pro-Pac sais Eco's expertise and products are a natural extension to its existing product and customer base in the food industry.
"The purchase of the Eco business is a strategic acquisition into the food packaging industry and provides a very good fit for our business and customer base to broaden the product range into a market segment that we are focusing on," said Pro-Pac's CEO, Brandon Penn.
Smithfield Foods, one of America’s largest pork producers has been sold to one of China’s largest meat processors, Shuanghui International for US $4.7 b.
The deal, which is said to be the largest takeover of an American company by a Chinese firm, has raised concerns surrounding food safety issues and national security according to the New York Times.
Shuanghui International was under fire two years ago when traces of a banned additive called clenbuterol was allegedly found in its Shineway brand of pork, resulting in a costly recall from store shelves.
Smithfield has also received their fair share of bad press. During the 2009 flu pandemic, a five year old boy living near a Smithfield subsidiary in Mexico contracted the deadly H1N1 swine flu virus. It was later confirmed that over 600 residents living near the plant located in La Gloria, Veracruz were infected with a mysterious respiratory illness.
The deal has also drawn the attention of the American government regulators who have raised concerns over national security. It has been reported that both Shuanghui and Smithfield plan to refer the deal to a US government department that oversees foreign investment.
Scandals aside, Smithfield believes that the deal is will benefit both itself and American farmers by expanding its reach to the American market who have a growing appetite for meat.
“This transaction will allow us to access Asia in a big way,” said C. Larry Pope, Smithfield’s chief executive. “This is an export deal, and they are very interested in exporting products out of the US.”
Nationals leader Warren Truss is skeptical about future prospects for the Australian agricultural industry in light of the recent acquisition of GrainCorp by US food and grain corporation, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).
Truss believes that the takeover will result in Australia eventually losing of control of grain production in the future according to The Land.
“If we keep blithely going along with the domino-effect of one-by-one allowing our successful agribusiness to fall into foreign hands, we’ll have nothing left to call our own,” he said
“All the decisions about Australia’s farming future will be made in boardrooms halfway around the world.”
Truss wants ADM to clarify its plans for the once farmer owned business, as well as whether the US giant has any proposed future investment plans in Australian grain infrastructure.
“Thinking Australians are increasingly highlighting the potential for our country to expand its food sector to feed growing global demand, but this sale would mean that our nation loses control of its grain storage and export facilities and our grain producing future,” he said.
The Nationals have stated that the sell-off of GrainCrop, Australia’s largest listed agribusiness, would be a major test for the Foreign Investment Review Board as failure to act may result in complete foreign ownership of Australia's eastern seaboard grain handling facilities.
Chief executive and chairman of ADM, Patricia Woertz stated that she intended for the company to ensure that its network remains relevant and responsive to growers needs.
“It is in ADM’s interest to ensure that its origination networks and up-country storage facilities are efficiently utilised by providing open access to all owners of grain,” She said.
GrainCorp handles around 80 percent of Queensland, NSW and Victorian grain exports with storage and logistics assets incorporating 280 storage sites, with the capacity for 21 million tonnes and 19 grain trains.
Leading UK convenience food manufacturer, Symington’s, has announced that it has reached an agreement to license Unilever’s wet sauces portfolio in Australia and New Zealand.
The agreement, Symington’s first major international venture, will see the manufacturer taking on three brands from Unilever: Chicken Tonight, Raguletto and Five Brothers.
The three brands will continue to be produced at Unilever’s factory in Tatura, Victoria.
Symington’s director of business development, Henrik Pade, said he’s pleased to have the opportunity to re-introduce Australia to the well-known brands.
“There are many similarities between the Australian and UK markets, and we will be drawing on our successful experience nurturing brands and developing the wet sauces category in the UK to surprise and delight our retail customers and the consumers in Australia,” he said.
Symington’s acquired Chicken Tonight and Raguletto from Unilever UK in August 2011 which resulted in average brand growth of 15 percent year on year, boosting the category to a value of £540m in the UK.
With a successful UK track record behind it, Syminton’s believes that it will be able to reinvigorate the brands in the Australian and NZ markets by utilising new product innovations and marketing initiatives.
Symington’s plans to grow its convenience foods business throughout Australia with both branded and private label products.
Barossa Valley Estate has been saved from receivership by Delegat’s recent acquisition of the struggling winemaker.
The Australian company boasting prestige wines such as the E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, was snapped up for $A24.7 million by Auckland-based Delegat, according tonews.com.au.
The deal is said to include ownership of a 5,000t winery, a 41ha vineyard in the Barossa Valley, grape grower contracts, inventory and brands.
The purchase is believed to bring strong strategic value to Delegat’s growing portfolio with wine styles that are complementary to the current business, as well as holding the potential to deliver significant growth and future sales.
"The acquisition of the assets of Barossa Valley Estate is an ideal fit with the group's portfolio of high quality wine assets," said managing director, Jim Delegat.
As well as the recent purchase of the Barossa-based company, Delegat has also acquired rival vineyards including Matariki Wines and Stony Bay Wines.
Delegat’s shares have risen 28 percent in 2013, with shares currently at $3.78.
The takeover is expected to be settled June.
Earlier this year, Barossa Valley Estate was placed in receivership with debts reportedly totalling $120 million.
Independent Distillers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese beverage giant Asahi, has snapped up local brewer Cricketers Arms as it expands its footprint in the local market.
In a statement Independent Distillers and Asahi Premium Beverages CEO Greg Ellery said the craft beer was a perfect addition to the group's portfolio.
“As our company continues its drive to enhance its business model across the total alcohol beverage sector, the acquisition of Cricketers Arms bolts on perfectly to the expansion of our on-premise and total beer offering, providing our company with the impetus to become a much larger player,” he said.
The deal marks the first beer acquisition by Independent Distillers since it was acquired by Asahi in September 2011.
Along with the Cricketers Arms move Ellery said the group would be on the hunt for more acquisitions, and the growth strategy had strong support from Asahi.
"Our beer / cider portfolio is now very powerful, covering off most sectors of the market — Asahi Super Dry in the super premium segment, Kingfisher in the mid-priced International sector, Cricketers Arms in the mainstream craft and of course Somersby for imported cider,” he said.
Cricketers CEO Paul Scott said the acquisition marked an “exciting time” for the craft brewer, and the company was working on expanding its product range and market share.
Along with the new purchase, Ellery said Independent Distillers was undertaking a major upgrade of its facility in Laverton.
“To be completed by September, this upgrade includes investment in a brand new, high speed and high volume keg line, new fermentation vessels and a new yeast propagation plant incorporating all relevant infrastructures,” he said.
Capilano Honey has announced it will acquire a number of WA honey company Wescobee's assets.
According to the company it will merge Wescobee's honey packing and distribution operations similar to Capilano's operations.
The proposed merger is still subject to the completion of due diligence on the assets and the overall business operations of Wescobee, and the negotiations of terms of the lease by Capilano of the factory premises that are currently owned by the WA honey company.
Wescobee sells predominately to WA and overseas.
According to Capilano it is acquiring the assets as "Capilano does not have any operational presence in Western Australia".