PARMALAT Australia has bought Western Australian dairy and fruit juice business Harvey Fresh, the State’s second largest dairy business.
Italian-owned Parmalat said the deal was part of its strategy to grow its Australian and export activities and gives the company a footprint in the west.

No price for the deal has been disclosed.

“With this transaction, the Parmalat Group strengthens its position in the Australian market, broadening its geographic footprint and becomes a fully national player,” a company statement announced.

The acquisition would also further improve Parmalat’s export capability taking advantage of Harvey’s 20-plus years of export contacts.

Harvey Fresh, based in the south-western WA Harvey district, is a family company established in 1986 as a fruit juice processing venture, now producing fresh and long-life lines.

It first exported cloudy apple juice to Asia in 1988 and now sends a variety of fruit and vegetables juices to export markets.

Harvey also specialises in producing fresh and ultra heat treated (UHT) milk dairy products including flavoured and lactose-free milk lines, and packs private label milk and juice lines for Coles supermarkets.

In 1999 the company diversified into producing its own Harvey River Bridge Estate wine from grapes sourced within WA’s cool climate Geographe region and it also packs house brand wine labels.

Harvey Fresh’s significant juice beverage business was expanded significantly with the purchase of the Nugan Group based at Griffith in the NSW Riverina in 2012, picking up a big fruit and vegetable juice customer base and more than 12,000 square metres of production and coolroom facilities.

The company two production facilities at Harvey and Hanwood employ about 250 staff.

Parmalat, one of the world’s biggest dairy processing businesses, has had a foothold in the Australian market since buying the Haberfields Dairy processing operation at Albury Wodonga in 1996, followed soon after by Brisbane-based Pauls.

Parmalat outbid National Foods in 1998 to buy Pauls for $436 million, also giving it dairy plants in Victoria at Bendigo and Rowville.

Source: The Australian Dairy Farmer