FONTERRA to sell its interest in the Riverina Fresh brand.

FONTERRA will sell its interest in the iconic Riverina Fresh brand.The brand and its Wagga Wagga manufacturing site will be sold to investment group Blue River Group next month.
Fonttera said all of its employees have received offers of employment from BRG.
Fonterra Australia managing director René Dedoncker said the Wagga Wagga business was no longer core to its strategy of ingredients, consumer and foodservice.
“Divesting the Wagga Wagga business follows the divestment of non-core assets, including our yoghurt and dairy desserts business, our Bega shares and our stake in Dairy Technical Services, and allows us to focus and put all our energy into our core businesses of ingredients, consumer and foodservice,” said Mr Dedoncker.
“Our Australian operations have particular ingredients strengths in cheese, whey and nutritionals, complemented by our consumer and foodservice businesses. These businesses and dairy foods are matched by our manufacturing footprint in Victoria and Tasmania.
“We’re investing in programs and innovations to support our market-leading cheese and spread brands, we’re building on the early success of our newly-launched Anchor brand in Australia, and we’re maintaining the excellent performance of our foodservice business.
“All these initiatives have laid the foundation for a strong sustainable business that is profitable for the long-term and well-positioned to pay our farmers the best possible milk price in a competitive global market,” said Mr Dedoncker.
Supplying farmer relationships will now be maintained by Blue River Group.
Blue River Group’s co-CEO and founder Craig Shapiro said the decision to acquire Riverina Fresh reflects the company’s ethos of investing in businesses that generate economic returns, but equally achieve positive and measurable social or environmental outcomes””.
“The acquisition of the Wagga Wagga dairy business and the iconic Riverina Fresh brand provides Blue River Group with a fantastic opportunity to invest in the agricultural sector and the Riverina regional community,” Mr Shapiro said.
Riverina Fresh has been producing dairy products since 1922 and is sourced from a around 20 dairy farms in the Riverina region.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to grow a business that has a dedicated and committed workforce and provides significant regional employment opportunities,” Mr Shapiro said.
“’Equally, we look forward to building on the existing strong relationship with the local farming families and distributors that stand behind the Riverina Fresh brand.”
Rob Collier will be remaining as CEO.
“Blue River Group’s investment in Riverina Fresh will help a niche brand flourish,” Mr Collier said.
“’The company is committed to the ongoing success of the Wagga Wagga business, the sustainability of the dairy industry, and the broader regional community,” he said.

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