Thomas Foods International has sold its fresh potato business to fellow SA company Mitolo Family Farms.
The deal announced today came about after Mitolo Family Farms managing director Frank Mitolo approached TFI chief executive Darren Thomas about selling the potato business several months ago.
The sale is still subject to Australian Competition & Consumer Commission approval.
SA grows 80 per cent of the nation's potatoes with Mitolo one of the major players. Both Mitolo and TFI's potato operation are based at Virginia.
Mr Mitolo said the acquisition represented an opportunity to increase capacity and help future proof the business through additional farming and water assets.
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"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."
TFI bought potato producer Mondello Farms after the Virginia-based business went into administration in 2013 and has since grown the business under its TFI Fresh Produce company division.
Mr 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 seven years with potatoes, reviving a business and rebuilding it into a profitable major industry player," he said.
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"By utilising the TFI group's global sales network, TFI Fresh Produce has built a substantial export business for potatoes and other related produce.
"It's now timely to divest these potato interests and focus on our group's core local, national and global operations where we see exciting growth prospects, including potential future acquisitions, the rebuild of the Murray Bridge meat processing plant and other produce opportunities.
"We know the Mitolo family well and are comfortable that the potato business will be in safe hands."
This article was originally published on The Lead.
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