SPC Ardmona has ruled out seeking taxpayer support again, and its managing director believes the Coca-Cola Amatil subsidiary can now be self-supporting.
The ABC last night reported that SPC was “on the brink of collapse” in February 2014, when the Victorian government provided a $22 million “bailout” to help upgrade the company’s Shepparton cannery.
Managing director Reg Weine told 7:30 that, "There's no doubt that we needed to invest in new technology, that we needed to make SPC a more efficient and innovative manufacturer.
"And the $100 million we're investing certainly sets us on the right path."
The then-Abbott federal government refused to provide a co-investment grant to the struggling business, reasoning that its parent company was profitable.
It was a high-profile case in the then-government’s hard line on industry assistance, and was followed by a constrained and unpopular first budget that May.
“No country has ever taxed its way to prosperity. Similarly, no country has ever subsidised its way to prosperity,” former prime minister Tony Abbott said in the December before the assistance request, referring to his position on industry policy.
SPC has been afforded some relief by the decline in the Australian dollar, and it expects to return to profit this year.
However, it is seeking action on dumped Italian tomatoes. The company pointed out that 103 of 105 exporters were found by the Anti-Dumping Commission to have dumped their product in Australia.