Thomas Foods International (TFI), Australia's largest 100 per cent family-owned red meat processor, has acquired a 50pc stake in the Victorian Frew group.
TFI, which is based in Adelaide, owns meat processing plants in Tamworth and Lobethal along with the soon-to-be-rebuilt Murray Bridge plant as well as leading national domestic wholesale, foods service and export business, Holco.
TFI exports across the globe with subsidiary companies located in Asia, Europe and the United States, where it operates a value-adding retail, foodservice and storage facility in Swedesboro, New Jersey.
The Frew meat processing company, now renamed Frew International, was established by the late Arch Frew in 1984, with his son, Robert Frew, managing the company since 1999.
It owns and operates a meat processing facility in Stawell with daily capacity to process over 6000 lambs, sheep and goats sourced through saleyards and directly from farmers throughout eastern and central Australia.
The formal partnership announced today provides second-generation livestock and meat processing sons, TFI chief executive Darren Thomas and Robert Frew with a unique opportunity to build further on the platforms created by their respective fathers, Chris Thomas and Arch Frew.
Under the arrangement, both companies will continue to operate independently with Robert remaining as Managing Director of Frew International and Darren joining its Board as Executive Chairman to help guide global growth and future strategy.
Darren Thomas said the investment into Frew provided great benefits to both companies over the long term and in particular to Frew's long-standing livestock suppliers and customers.
"Both companies have had a mutual respect for each other over many years," Mr Thomas said.
We are both family owned and family grown, which means a lot in our industry, particularly to our customers and livestock suppliers.
"For us, it was important to partner with a company that has a similar focus on quality and running a business based on strong family values.
"This investment is not only aimed at helping facilitate Frew's exciting growth prospects but also enhancing TFI's offering across the meat industry including some of Frew's existing key markets that TFI has not served in recent years."
Robert Frew said he was excited about the partnership.
"Our well-established and focused national retail domestic customer relationships and export markets, in particular the Middle East, will benefit substantially through combining our increased procurement, supply chain, access to markets and processing volumes," Mr Frew said.
"Our two companies had already established a great working partnership, with Holco purchasing products from our company over many years.
"Today's announcement strengthens our companies' high quality 'farmgate to plate' offering for consumers right across the globe."
The new corporate structure takes effect from July 1, 2020.
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