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Australia: Thomas Foods sells to Mitolo as meat and potatoes go separate ways

Mitolo Family Farms will strengthen its grip on Australia’s potato industry following an agreement to purchase Thomas Foods International’s fresh potato business, reports Andrew Spence in The LEAD.

The deal announced between the two South Australian family-owned companies came about after Mitolo Family Farms Managing Director Frank Mitolo approached TFI CEO Darren Thomas about selling the potato business several months ago. The sale is still subject to ACCC approval.

South Australia grows 80 per cent of the nation’s potatoes with Mitolo among its biggest player. The Thomas Foods International potato operation and Mitolo Family Farms are both based in Virginia, north of Adelaide.

Mitolo said the acquisition represents an opportunity to increase capacity and business continuity for packing and grading fresh produce in the Virginia region and to future proof the business through additional farming and water assets.

“It underpins our commitment to quality and reliability of supply to all consumers through our valued retail and wholesale partners and enables us to achieve best practices in farming and technology in our pursuit of excellence,” he said.

“This acquisition will deliver substantial benefits to all consumers and our commercial partners through increased efficiencies as well as our ongoing commitment to the highest level of quality and service.”

Thomas said the sale would allow TFI to focus on its core meat business, including the rebuilding of its main Murray Bridge factory, which was destroyed by fire in January 2018.

“We’re proud of what TFI Fresh Produce has achieved over the past 7 years with potatoes, reviving a business and rebuilding it into a profitable major industry player,” he said.

Read the full story in The LEAD here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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