Sale of Jewel Fine Foods to Coles completed

KPMG Australia announced today that the sale of Jewel Fine Foods is completed. Jewel was one of two major suppliers of chilled ready meals in Australia and went into voluntary administration in April 2019. 

Voluntary Administrators Peter Gothard, James Dampney and Stephen Parbery confirmed the sale contract was signed on Wednesday, 18 March 2020 with Chef Fresh Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Coles Group. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) subsequently considered the sale and on 25 March 2020 confirmed it would not oppose the proposed acquisition by Coles' subsidiary Chef Fresh (Food & Drink Business, 25/04/2020). 

KPMG Australia restructuring partner Peter Gothard said: “We are delighted to have reached a successful outcome in the current challenging environment. The sale is a positive step forward to providing a stable operating environment for everyone involved in the Jewel business.”

In September last year, the commission opposed the sale of Jewel to B&J Kitchen because it would be “likely to substantially lessen competition for the supply of chilled ready meals”.

B&J City Kitchen is 77 per cent owned by Beak and Johnston Holdings and 23 per cent by Woolworths Group. B&J City Kitchen supplies nationally to grocery retailers including Woolworths, Coles, Metcash and Harris Farm.

ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said the Coles acquisition of Jewel ensured there will still be two major suppliers of chilled ready meals.

“The ACCC investigation focused on whether other retailers would be foreclosed if Coles acquired the business. We found that Woolworths already has supply arrangements with Jewel’s competitor, B&J City Kitchen, and that other retailers have other options.”

Ridgeway said the continuation of chilled ready meals by Jewel was a “better outcome” for competition than liquidation of the assets.

KPMG Australia restructuring partner James Dampneysaid: “The entire team at Jewel have done an incredible job in continuing to produce a high quality product under very difficult circumstances. The successful sale of the business to Coles is a real credit to the way the management and staff of the business have performed during the administration process.  We are extremely pleased to see the business’ future secured as a result of their hard work.”

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