$45 million recyling plant for Albury/Wodonga

A new recycling plant will increase the amount of recycled PET plastic produced in Australia each year from local waste.

The decision to build the facility in Albury/Wodonga was confirmed yesterday after Pact Group Holdings, Cleanaway Waste Management and Asahi Beverages entered a joint venture to deliver the project.

It will create dozens of direct jobs when construction starts in coming months. It is anticipated the facility will recycle the equivalent of around one billion 600ml PET plastic bottles each year. The bottles will be used as a raw material to produce new bottles plus food and beverage packaging in Australia to help close the loop on recycling.

This will see the amount of locally sourced and recycled PET produced in Australia increase by two thirds – from around 30,000 tonnes currently to over 50,000 tonnes per annum according to Pact Group. Other major environmental benefits it will deliver include reducing Australia’s reliance on virgin plastic, the amount of plastic waste sent overseas and the amount of recycled plastic Australia imports.

Solar energy will power part of the facility. The $45 million facility will be located at the Nexus Precinct, 10km north of Albury/Wodonga’s CBD in NSW and will be among the first businesses located at the new industrial precinct.

Over the course of the build, the project is expected to create over 300 direct and indirect jobs, with tradespeople, engineers and technicians among the roles that need to be filled.

Announcements will follow regarding the hiring of these roles. Construction will start towards the end of the year, pending approval from Albury Council, and is expected to be fully operational by December 2021. The plant will draw on the expertise of each member of the joint venture, which will trade as Circular Plastics Australia (PET).

Cleanaway will provide the plastic to be recycled through its collection and sorting network, Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise while Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the recycled plastic from the facility to use in their packaging.

The announcement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the joint venture members earlier this year. The project was supported with nearly $5 million from the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy. The project was also made possible through the support of the Department of Regional NSW.

Asahi to open plastic palletising facility in Albury

Pact Group Holdings, Cleanaway Waste Management and Asahi Beverages have announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop a local plastic pelletising facility.

It is anticipated that the facility will process up to 28,000 tonnes of plastic bottles and other recyclables into flake and food grade pellets which will be used as a raw material for the production of packaging for food and beverages. The cross value chain collaboration uniquely combines the expertise of each participant.

Cleanaway will provide available feedstock through its collection and sorting network. Pact will provide technical and packaging expertise and Asahi Beverages and Pact will buy the majority of the recycled pellets from the facility to use in their packaging products.

The proposed facility will be located in Albury/Wodonga to service markets across the  Coast and create approximately 30 local jobs in regional Australia. It is anticipated that the facility will be operational by December 2021.

“I am thrilled with this arrangement and the opportunity to work with Cleanaway and Asahi in making a meaningful step in improving the plastics value chain,” said Pact’s managing director and CEO, Sanjay Dayal.

The arrangement is clearly aligned with our Vision to lead the circular economy and will support Pact in achieving our 2025 Sustainability Promise to offer 30 per cent recycled content across our packaging portfolio.

“The partnership will create valuable raw materials from the recyclables we collect and sort to help make a sustainable future possible. It is a natural extension of our value chain and expands our footprint of prized assets,” said Cleanaway’s CEO and managing director, Vik Bansal.

This project was supported by a grant to Cleanaway from the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.

“This venture will allow us to utilise Australian sourced recycled plastic resins to assist in meeting our sustainability commitment to transition our portfolio to recycled plastics. I am excited by the opportunity to participate in a market winning strategic alliance that closes the loop of the circular economy and contributes to a sustainable plastics supply chain by combining our strategic capabilities,” said Asahi Beverage’s Group CEO, Robert Iervasi.

Australia in top five of biggest sellers of food & bev businesses in 2019

Orkla, Pernod Ricard, Nestlé, Asahi, PepsiCo, Lactalis, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Azelis, Berlin Packaging, Kirin and Waterlogic were the most acquisitive companies of 2019, according to the bevblog.net food and drink transactions database, with each responsible for five or more takeovers.  Archer Daniels Midland, Bimbo, Diageo, Emmi, JBS and Refresco all made four purchases.

Campbell Soup was the only company to agree five or more sales, followed by Fonterra on four, then Coca-Cola, Hain Celestial and Nestlé on three.

A total of 1,290 companies were involved across 59 countries, with the United States and United Kingdom most prominent overall.

Global food and drink transactions by country 2018-19

Rank Country 2018 2019
Top buyers
1 United States 312 305
2 United Kingdom 94 93
3 France 39 51
4 Spain 29 35
5 Canada 26 25
Top sellers
1 United States 329 328
2 United Kingdom 116 130
3= Spain 34 41
France 24 41
5 Australia 22 25

Japan was the biggest net buyer (+18), followed by France (+10), then Belgium and Norway (+9 each).

The United Kingdom was the main net seller (-37), followed by the United States (-23), Australia (-16) and Brazil (-11).

Asahi shares reason for success

Asahi Beverages have shared their recipe for success, having recently been names as one of Australia’s ‘Top 100 Manufacturers’ for 2019.

With Australia’s $383.2 billion manufacturing industry, which employs over 791,000 Australians, projected to achieve an industry growth rate of 1.2 per cent over the next five years to $405.8 billion in 2023-24, companies like Asahi have an opportunity to build on existing successes.

As a major food product manufacturer, and one of 17 that made this year’s Top 100 compiled by IBISWorld analysts, Anna Reid, general manager of manufacturing of Asahi Beverages explains building a smart value chain is key to success.

“Undoubtedly, there are numerous factors that contribute to a manufacturing company being a leader or ‘Top 100 Manufacturer’,” she said. “The fundamental attributes that have contributed to our business success and inclusion on this year’s list of leading manufacturers, include having a clear strategic plan, a strong record of consistent and profitable growth, continued strong investment across Australia to improve our manufacturing and distribution facilities, improving efficiency across all areas of the business, driving continued innovation across the business, differentiating ourselves from competitors to attract great talent and having an extensive portfolio of great brands that Australians know and love.”

We are proud to be manufacturing in Australia and manufacturing some of the nation’s most loved brands, including: Schweppes, Solo, Asahi Super Dry, Pepsi, Gatorade, Cottee’s cordials, Spring Valley, and Vodka Cruiser. Although we are a relatively young company, having been formed in 2014, we have a rich history through our various integrated businesses, which have been acquired by Asahi Group Holdings.”

“We have taken a mature journey approach, with a focus on building strong foundations to leverage future development of our operations. This involved developing an adoption plan across our supply chain, looking beyond technology to new skills and IT infrastructure, while working to strengthen existing processes to support reliability. Major technological innovations are fueling significant change throughout the world, with the manufacturing industry embracing the inter-connectivity of new and emerging technology or ‘Smart Manufacturing’ and ‘Industry 4.0’.

“At Asahi, we’ve been building a strong collaborative partnership between our business’ information technology and operational technology functions to ensure we have the right infrastructure backbone. We’ve also focused on digitising our factories in a structured way to achieve data standardisation and optimisation, which offers real-time analytics. Additionally, the agile learning approach we’ve adopted, focusing on process improvement and deliberate experimentation, coupled with embedding a problem-solving mindset amongst our employee base, have also been key contributors to our success.”

Why a smart value chain is crucial to operational and business success

Australia’s ‘Top 100 Manufacturers 2019’, powered by National Manufacturing Week, was recently released with the $383.2 billion industry, which employs over 791,000 Australians, projected to achieve a growth rate of 1.2 per cent over the next five years to $405.8 billion in 2023-241.

Asahi Beverages, the Australian New Zealand business of Asahi Group Holdings (Japan) that was listed 41st on this year’s ‘Top 100 Manufacturers’, moved up three places in the past year and was one of 17 food product manufacturing companies (the leading category of this year’s list) that made Australia’s ‘Top 100.’

“Undoubtedly, there are numerous factors that contribute to a manufacturing company being a leader or ‘Top 100 Manufacturer’,” said Anna Reid, general manager of manufacturing of Asahi Beverages. “The fundamental attributes that have contributed to our business success and inclusion on this year’s list of leading manufacturers, include having a clear strategic plan, a strong record of consistent and profitable growth, continued strong investment across Australia to improve our manufacturing and distribution facilities, improving efficiency across all areas of the business, driving continued innovation across the business, differentiating ourselves from competitors to attract great talent and having an extensive portfolio of great brands that Australians know and love.

“We are proud to be manufacturing in Australia and manufacturing some of the nation’s most loved brands, including: Schweppes, Solo, Asahi Super Dry, Pepsi, Gatorade, Cottee’s cordials, Spring Valley, and Vodka Cruiser. Although we are a relatively young company, having been formed in 2014, we have a rich history through our various integrated businesses, which have been acquired by Asahi Group Holdings.”

According to Liam Harrison, senior industry analyst at IBISWorld, the fact food production and manufacturing companies are the leading category within this year’s ‘Top 100 Manufacturers’ is indicative of Australia’s export and trade largest contributors, with integration a pathway to success for many companies.

“It’s certainly no surprise to see the ‘Top 100 Manufacturers’ for 2019 dominated by companies operating within food production and non-metallic mineral production. Australia is renowned for its strong agricultural exports and mining, energy and resources industry. Vertical integration is also major factor for many of leading manufacturers in generating revenue or stabilising the impacts of volatility to their manufacturing division. For the majority of Australia’s manufacturers, the major challenges that exist are the threat of global competitors with well-resourced and integrated supply chains, substantial energy costs and high wage costs.”

For Asahi Beverages, the integration of its 2,100 people (across Australia and New Zealand) and emerging technologies to build a smarter value chain, as well as a firm commitment to innovation, has provided a platform to both compete and grow. Reid, who will be presenting on ‘Building a Smart Value Chain’ during the conference program at National Manufacturing Week, also shared Asahi’s approach of finding the right technologies to meet strategic plans and deliver value was also a key factor in operational success:

“We have taken a mature journey approach, with a focus on building strong foundations to leverage future development of our operations. This involved developing an adoption plan across our supply chain, looking beyond technology to new skills and IT infrastructure, while working to strengthen existing processes to support reliability. Major technological innovations are fueling significant change throughout the world, with the manufacturing industry embracing the inter-connectivity of new and emerging technology or ‘Smart Manufacturing’ and ‘Industry 4.0’.

“At Asahi, we’ve been building a strong collaborative partnership between our business’ information technology and operational technology functions to ensure we have the right infrastructure backbone. We’ve also focused on digitising our factories in a structured way to achieve data standardisation and optimisation, which offers real-time analytics. Additionally, the agile learning approach we’ve adopted, focusing on process improvement and deliberate experimentation, coupled with embedding a problem-solving mindset amongst our employee base, have also been key contributors to our success.”

Japanese beer maker grabs Mountain Goat

Beer maker Asahi has bought Melbourne-based brewer Mountain Goat. 

This is the second Australian craft brewery bought out by the Japanese beer giant, along with Cricketer Arms, which they purchased in April 2013.

According to David Bonighton and Cam Hines, founders of Mountain Goat: “A lot has changed since 1997, back then we knew that Australian beer lovers deserved more than just bland, yellow fizzy lager, but it was so difficult to find. It’s the very reason we started the brewery.”

The pair went on to say that, “we’ve been contract partners with Asahi for three years now, and with their expert help our beer has grown in demand, expanded nationally, and found a special place with beer lovers. We are confident that with Asahi on board, we will be able to convert many more people to craft beer than we could do on our own.”

Mountain Goat will remain a stand-alone business and the brewers will continue to brew beer in Richmond.

 “We’re sticking around. We want to ensure focus remains on the beer: on its quality of course, but also to continue to innovate and collaborate with other passionate members of the craft beer community. This was a key aspect of the sale for both sides,” the founders’ said.

“We are so proud that our loyal supporters believed in us and proved us right, and we’re genuinely excited about how the Australian craft beer scene is growing.

Full details for the deal have not been disclosed at the time of reporting.

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