Monday, 10 February 2014

So does Cadbury Australia really deserve $16 million from taxpayers?

In August 2013 then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced that if the Coalition won government he planned to fund what he described as the Cadbury Chocolate factory to the tune of $16 million as part of a planned $66 million company upgrade, he stated that it would be used for a Ord River cocoa tree planting trial, a new factory visitors centre, increased chocolate production and be the first step toward producing a 100 per cent Australian-made chocolate bar.

This is not the first time growing cocoa in northern Australia has been been mooted by Cadbury, feasibility studies occurred in the 1990s. Cadbury walked away from this project and independent growers are now established in Queensland.

Daintree Estates chocolate in Queensland is a single origin chocolate and therefore the first 100% Australian-made chocolate.

On 2 February 2010 Cadbury Australia Pty Ltd became part of the multinational company, Kraft Foods Inc., as Kraft Australia Holdings Pty Ltd.
On 1 October 2012 Kraft Foods Inc. changed its name to Mondelēz International Inc. and Kraft Australia Holdings Pty Ltd became Mondelez Australia Holdings Pty Ltd.

Mondelez Australia Holdings Pty Ltd current directors are:

Simon Edmund Talbot
Gunther Burghardt
Lisa Leanne Keogh
Darren Francis O'Brien
Mauricio Giorgano Ferreira
Amanda Jane Banfield
Karen Yvette Perret (Alternate Director)

All of whom (except the Alternate) state their addresses as being in different streets in Brighton, Victoria.

Mondelēz International Inc. has 1,101 institutional shareholders, a list of which can be found at

Its top five shareholders are:

State Street Corp
Vanguard Group Inc
Investco Ltd
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd
Trian Fund Management, L.P.

In 2013 Mondelēz International announced its intention to invest $190 million in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to establish the company's largest manufacturing plant in Asia Pacific and over $100 million in a state-of-the-art biscuit manufacturing plant at its Opava site in the Czech Republic.

In 2012 it stated it had global net revenues of $35 billion and boasted that it held the No. 1 position globally in Biscuits, Chocolate, Candy and Powdered Beverages as well as the No. 2 position in Gum and Coffee. In the third quarter of 213 the company's net revenues were $8.5 billion, up 1.8 percent. Its 2013 fourth quarter and full year results will be published on 12 February 2014.

Coca Cola Amatil Limited's subsidiary SPC Ardmona Limited (and SPC Ardmona Operations Limited) also has plans for a $ 200 million company expansion and asked the Abbott Government for a $25 million grant.
Now in government Prime Minister Tony Abbott said no - because it was not the government's job to restructure a particular business and, because he thinks the company's Fair Work-endorsed enterprise agreement is excessive even though workers only receive a 2.5 per cent annual pay rise, all full-time employees receive a modest 28 consecutive days annual leave (inclusive of weekends) and production stream hourly rates for working in a non-air conditioned Shepparton complex range from $24.56 to $32.06.
In 2012 Coca Cola Amatil (Asia - Pacific) made a net profit of $558.4 million and $225.1 million in 2013. The Coca Cola Company reportedly owns a 29 per cent share in Coca Cola Amatil and is represented on the board. Coca Cola Company's net income in 2012 was $9.06 billion.

Coca Cola Amatil Limted's current directors are:

Mr David Michael Gonski, AC
Mr Terry James Davis
Ms Ilana Rachel Atlas
Ms Catherine Michelle Brenner
Mr Anthony (Tony) Grant Froggatt
Mr Martin Jansen
Mr Geoffrey James Kelly
Mr Wallace Macarthur King, AO
Mr David Edward Meiklejohn, A.M.

On 18 February 2014 it is expected that the Coca Cola Amatil board will decide the fate of SPC Ardmona, with some analysts expecting the business will be placed on the market.

So what makes Cadbury Australia so different from SPC Ardmona? What makes it right to help with the restructuring of Cadbury Australia but not SPC Ardmona?

In fact if this is the Coalition's new age of personal responsibility, why on earth did it announce on 3 February that it was also giving Huon Aquaculture Group Pty Ltd $3.5 million so that it too can expand its business?

I rather suspect that there are more people associated with Cadbury Australia who are in or have access to the Coalition old boys network than do those associated with SPC Ardmona.

Starting with the Prime Minister who participates in Pollie Pedal which is co-sponsored by Cadbury.

Perhaps readers might like to explore that issue.

The last word goes to the Federal Liberal MP for Murray, Sharman Stone.

ABC Rural 4 February 2014:

A Liberal backbencher has accused the Prime Minister and the Treasurer of lying about union conditions at SPC Ardmona.
Sharman Stone, the Member for Murray, says the Federal Government is using excuses that are 'wrong' to justify the decision to reject a bid from the northern Victorian food processor for $25 million in assistance.
Union conditions of workers have come under fire from the government for being too extravagant, with pay well above the award.
Dr Stone says leaders of her party are deceiving the public debate.
"It's not the truth. That's right, it's lying," she said.
"The independent panel, their own independent panel, I understand recommended that this industry be supported."......

SPC Ardmona’s point-by-point rebuttal of recent claims here.
* Photograph found on Twitter

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