Harvey Fresh sold to Italian dairy group Parmalat

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd April 2014
Harvey Fresh has been sold to Parmalat

Major Western Australian dairy processor and fruit juice manufacturer Harvey Fresh has been sold to Italian dairy group Parmalat for about $117 million.

Parmalat’s Australian subsidiary is one of Australia’s major manufacturers of dairy products, including milk, yoghurt and other fresh dairy products. Its brand portfolio includes Pauls, Vaalia, Ice Break, Oak, Breaka, Soy Life, and Rush.

Parmalat Australia said the acquisition of Harvey Fresh was aimed at improving the group’s capacity to export to Asian markets. Parmalat indicated that it will retain the Harvey Fresh brand on milk, cheese, cream and juice products, and that the four existing Harvey Fresh directors would continue to be involved in the business as consultants.

Harvey Fresh was established as a family-owned business in 1986 and its processing facilities are located about 140 kilometres south of Perth, near the farming town of Harvey. The Company processes fruit juices and dairy products, and built a winery in 1999, which produces wines under the Harvey River Bridge Estate and Joseph River labels.

The range of Harvey Fresh products include fruit and vegetable concentrates, freshly squeezed and crushed juice products, fresh milk products, yoghurt, whipping cream, long life fruit juices, long life carrot juice, long life milk products including lactose free milks, and wine. It currently supplies product to customers within Western Australia and across the East Coast of Australia, as well as exporting products to countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.

Parmalat CEO Craig Garvin said he thought there was a lot of growth potential in Harvey Fresh.

“There’s a strong capability here for export,” Mr Garvin said. “Combined with the brands we already have and the iconic Harvey Fresh brand, we think this is an excellent acquisition,” he said.

Recent Australian dairy acquisitions

Parmalat’s acquisition of Harvey Fresh continues the trend of strong international interest in Australian dairy groups, including the acquisition in early 2014 of Victorian-based dairy processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter by Canadian dairy company Saputo.

Interest in Australian dairy assets has grown due to surging sales in Asia of both traditional products such as milk and cheese and for value-added dairy products such as high-tech nutraceuticals and probiotics.

Australian Food News  reported in February 2014 that another Australian dairy processor, the privately-owned dairy giant United Dairy Power, which owns the Caboolture Cheese brand, had been sold to an international buyer, Hong Kong businessman William Hui. In January 2014, Australian Food News reported that China’s Bright Food Group had acquired another Western Australian dairy company, Mundella Foods, through its Australian subsidiary Manassen Foods.