Iconic ice cream brand to close doors – assets for sale
One of Australia’s most iconic food brands Dairy Bell Ice Cream has decided voluntarily to shut down after 44 years of manufacturing ice cream in Australia, and has told Australian Food News that its assets are available for sale.
Dairy Bell’s Managing Director, Mr Andre Razums told Australian Food News that the decision to close was voluntary.
“We feel that the time has come,” Mr Razums said. “As the old saying goes, ‘you’ve got to know when to hold it and know when to fold it’. Not many companies do that, but we started it ourselves 45 years ago, and we’re the ones who are going to finish it,” he said.
He said the Company is solvent and that management has assured all creditors that they are being paid in full.
Dairy Bell, which has produced ice cream and ice blocks mainly for its own-brand products, was founded in 1970 by Andre Razums and John Stanford. In 1973, Dairy Bell expanded into the New South Wales market by purchasing the Skybomber Ice block factory at Australia Street in the inner city Sydney suburb of Camperdown.
The Dairy Bell product range has included its popular take-home pack segments in sizes ranging from 1 litre to 5 litres, as well as its specialty products such as ‘Polyunsaturated No Added Sugar’, and the Skybombers ice block range.
Dairy Bell’s two factories in Melbourne and one in Sydney will close on 27 February 2015. The Company said various cost pressures had reduced its capacity to recover costs for the last four years, and that its capital had been eroded year by year.
Mr Razums said the Company’s ice cream manufacturing equipment, which is capable of producing 12 million litres of ice cream per hour, was for sale.
“We’ve had offers, and we’re open for offers,” Mr Razums said.
Mr Razums told Australian Food News that Dairy Bell currently produces 8,000 litres of ice cream an hour in Victoria, and in New South Wales it produces 4,000 litres of ice cream an hour, and 12,000-14,000 ice blocks per hour. In addition, Dairy Bell has operated 11 retail outlets across 3 States: Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
Dairy Bell said that indications for the future were of “continuing ingredient and labour rises making plant and machinery replacement and profit budgeting impossible”. In a statement on the Company’s website, it said it did not wish to compromise its assets and had therefore decided “that the timing is right and the opportunity is there for us to now develop our inner city real estate sites in Melbourne and Sydney”.
“We’d like to thank the supermarkets for looking after us for 45 years, but the future that we can see is not going to be easy for any dairy producer, especially with the ingredients — the cream and milk purchases — going to go to China, making Australian costs and availability pretty prohibitive,” Mr Razums told Australian Food News.
06/07/2015 Editorial Update: Please note the assets have now been acquired.