The future of Kyabram’s SPC processing plant has been been questioned after SPC last week announced plans to sell its iconic IXL jam and Taylor’s Marinades and Sauces brands.
The company has cited a decline in sales as the reason behind the decision, with managing director Reg Weine also pointing to a desire to consolidate the company’s manufacturing base in Shepparton as a strong driver.
‘‘IXL and Taylors are great brands, but the spreads and sauces/marinades categories are a little outside the core of the business,’’ he said.
‘‘They are both relatively small brands in our overall portfolio and we’ve concluded we are best to focus where we have a distinct competitive advantage.
‘‘We have a great sense of responsibility in ensuring these heritage brands find a good home and we will be sad to see them go.’’
Mr Weine did not respond to requests for further comment at the time of printing.
SPC workers at the Kyabram factory have been told their jobs are safe, with the employees expected to be able to continue under new owners or be transferred to the Shepparton plant.
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union organiser Jason Hefford said the announcement was ‘‘no real shock’’ to the more than 50 workers at the plant.
‘‘For basically seven or eight years the company has always talked about how they’d like to centralise their operation (in Shepparton),’’ he said.
‘‘If they find a buyer hopefully they’ll take the factory too ... Being a regional town we’d like the lines and factory, obviously the whole lot (to stay in Kyabram) ... Any buyer that stays local helps to grow the town.’’
SPC has appointed KPMG Corporate Finance to examine bids for the brands, with the process expected to take six months.
With an upcoming state election, Mr Hefford said it could be the perfect opportunity for a potential buyer of the factory to seek funding to upgrade the facility.
Regardless of what occurs with the sale of the brands, Mr Hefford said Kyabram needed to keep the jobs.
‘‘If you take 30 to 40 jobs out of any community it has flow-on effects to other businesses. We don’t want that for regional Victoria.’’
Kyabram Chamber of Commerce president Miles Gould said there had been plenty of conversation regarding the future of the factory.
‘‘Obviously as a community we’d prefer the factory stay there and be operational. It provides a great service to the town and the district and provides livelihoods to so many people,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s not just the people that work there, it’s their extended families, the people that supply the factory and the people that work for them.
‘‘There’s onflow effects to businesses in the community ... We would just hope that everyone is doing well.’’