In this round-up of recent industry developments, Machinery Matters gives an overview of the top M&A activity and plant investment across the processing and packaging sector. In the news: Thomas Foods, Frew Foods, Rivalea, Pharmacare, Bounce, Jamestrong, Beam Suntory, Frucor Suntory, Ferndale Foods, Amcor, Mondelez, Licella, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

Thomas Foods takes full ownership of Frew Foods

Meat processing company Thomas Foods International (TFI) has taken over full ownership of Victoria-based Frew Foods International, which will be rebranded as Thomas Foods International Stawell. In 2020, TFI acquired a 50 per cent stake in Frew in a deal that provided both Australian companies with growth prospects across key national and international markets. TFI said it will undertake a $100m upgrade of the facility, including a new cold store and logistics hub, and an extension of the lamb boning room, incorporating the latest technology.

Rivalea earmarks $20m Corowa investment

Pork company Rivalea, acquired by JBS Australia in 2022, will invest than $20 million into its Corowa piggery and processing facility to improve and strengthen its operations and growth across fresh and value-added pork products supplied to Australian consumers and key export partners. The Corowra site employs 600 people across five farms, a processing facility, feed milling, and research and administration operations.

Jamestrong partners to advance aluminium recycling

Jamestrong, manufacturer of metal cans for leading Australian and international brands, has partnered with the UNSW Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre on a new project that is set to revolutionise aluminium manufacturing and recycling in Australia. Jamestrong CEO Alex Commins said the partnership kickstarts a process that will establish Jamestrong as one of the first aluminium aerosol can producers in the world to not only make aerosol cans from recycled content, but from waste currently not recycled because it contains mixed materials including plastics.

Beam & Frucor Suntory create $3bn beverage giant

Beam Suntory and Frucor Suntory have created a new $3 billion partnership across alcohol and non-alcohol segments in Australia and New Zealand, bringing 40 beverage brands together under the banner of Suntory Oceania. Frucor Suntory CEO Darren Fullerton said the partnership is an opportunity to realise and go beyond the potential of its existing brands and business goals. The largest FMCG investment in Australia in more than 10 years, Frucor Suntory’s $400 million, net zero, beverage production facility currently under construction in Ipswich, Queensland, will fuel Suntory Oceania’s growth. The multi-beverage facility will be on a 17-hectare, greenfield site in the New-Gen Business Park in Ipswich, and will include beverage processing, packaging, warehousing, and distribution. It will be able to produce up to 20 million cases of drinks a year when it opens in mid-2024, with the site designed for significant scaling to more than 50 million cases in the future.

Pharmacare buys Bounce

Australia’s largest family-owned health and wellness supplements brand, PharmaCare, has bought Bounce, which went into voluntary administration in July. Bounce is PharmaCare’s 28th brand and will join Go Natural in its health food division. Other brands in the company’s portfolio include Nature’s Way, Sambucol, Bioglan, and SUP Supplements. Pharmacare CEO Glenn Cochran said this announcement underscores Pharmacare's commitment to grow through local acquisition.

Ferndale Foods $20 million Ballarat investment

Ferndale Foods Australia, a family-owned regional Victorian company, will invest $20 million in a state-of-the-art food manufacturing facility in Ballarat. The move aims to meet the growing demand for better-for-you bars and snacks in the market. Once operational, the new facility, named FoodLine Australia, will have the capacity to manufacture 180 million bars annually. It will offer co-manufacturing capability to existing brands and customers while also creating its own better-for-you product lines. The better-for-you industry is not only booming in Australia but also globally, with projections estimating the market for these products to reach an astonishing US$32 billion by 2025.

Amcor, Mondelez invest in Licella’s advanced recycling facility

Two major players in the Australian packaging value chain, Amcor and Mondelez, have signed investment agreements that will enable Licella to accelerate construction of its advanced recycling facility in Altona North, Melbourne. The facility, to be called Advanced Recycling Victoria (ARV), will be one of the first of its kind in Australia, and will deploy Licella’s Australian-developed Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) technology to recycle end-of-life plastic back into a crude oil substitute suitable, to produce new food-grade plastic packaging. Although the scale of the investment has not been disclosed by either company, previous reports indicate that phase one of the plant, which would yield around 20,000 tonnes processing capacity, would cost about $80 million, and as capacity increases to 120,000 tonnes, the investment would rise to $200 million.

CCEP in bid to buy Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and Aboitiz Equity Ventures look set to buy Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines from The Coca-Cola Company, confirming CCEP as the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler in revenue and volume. The Philippines deal builds on the company’s move into the Australia, Pacific & Indonesia (API) region in 2021 when it acquired Coca-Cola Amatil for AU$9.93 billion. CCEP and AEV have entered a Letter of Intent to jointly acquire CCBPI. CCEP said it has signed a non-binding term sheet and is in "advanced discussions" with AEV for a 60:40 ownership structure.

Food & Drink Business

A new $12.2 million food and beverage manufacturing centre in Western Australia will be open to all food and beverage businesses that are looking for low-risk environment to scale up production.

The Hive Awards are underway and we’re on the lookout for the best in the business of food and beverage manufacturing. Here’s five good reasons for you to enter. Entries close 23 February.  

Cultivate Food and Beverage, a social enterprise backed by South Australian disability services provider Bedford, has acquired Adelaide Hills Food, with major growth plans for the well-known bakery and food manufacturer.