Processor Thomas Foods International will today announce that the company has acquired 100 percent of vertically-integrated beef supply chain manager and non-packer exporter, Atron Enterprises.
Atron founder and owner David Larkin will join Thomas Foods International as part of its executive team. Mr Larkin is the current president of the Australian Meat Industry Council’s Australian Processor Council.
The deal includes related entities trading as RG Meats NSW and Meatland QLD.
Thomas Foods International includes four food processing plants in Murray Bridge and Lobethal (SA), Tamworth (NSW) and Wallangarra (QLD). The group also operates a domestic wholesale and food service distribution business that services the needs of the Australian domestic market.
The TFI group is represented in the US through its subsidiary Thomas Foods International USA, which services the entire North American market with distribution centres across many states in the US. In recent years it has completed the construction and commissioning of a state-of-the-art cold storage and processing centre in Philadelphia.
Established by Mr Larkin in 1993, Atron Enterprises is an award-winning vertically integrated meat processing and marketing business with well-known grain and grassfed brands and established customers both domestically and overseas. Atron processes a range of product types from veal to heavy grainfed, using service kills currently carried out at Northern Cooperative Meat Co, Casino (NSW); Meramist Caboolture (Qld); and Cootamundra (NSW). Numbers range up to 1000 head per week. Key beef brands include Condabri (grainfed), Premi-Yum and Spring Grove.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to grow the business with TFI and see the involvement of TFI as exciting,” Mr Larkin said.
He told Beef Central there was no plans to shift current service kills to TFI-owned facilities under the new business arrangements – nor would Atron be using TFI’s domestic distribution network.
“The two businesses will continue to operate much as they have in the past,” he said. “It’s business as usual, but is primarily about driving further growth in both businesses.”
TFI chief executive officer Darren Thomas said the investment in Atron provided an opportunity for TFI to continue its growth in the Australian processing industry with particular regard to its northern focus and complement its existing domestic wholesale business servicing the food service and retail sectors.
The Thomas family has had a long association with Mr Larkin dating back to the T&R Pastoral Co days when he was a customer buying carcase beef from T&R.
“The two companies have maintained a close relationship since our respective origins,” Mr Thomas said. “We are both proud, Australian-owned companies that place upmost importance on quality and running our businesses based on strong family values.”