The agreement was signed on the recent State Government trade mission to South East Asia, aiming to enhance South Australia's reputation as an exporter of clean, green food to the rest of the world.
The agreement between Thailand based conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) and South Australian company Thomas Foods International, allows the commencement of planning into a new large-scale advanced food processing centre, linking to one of the biggest food distribution networks in the world.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the agreement, signed in Bangkok, was good news for South Australia’s food industry, an important sector for the State’s economic future.
“CP Group have recognised South Australia’s natural competitive advantage for the production of clean green safe food for the world and are backing one of our great local companies,” Mr Weatherill said.
“This agreement will allow the two companies to develop plans for a large-scale food processing facility like no other currently in Australia – using high tech equipment to prepare and package foods for distribution across Asia and the world.
“The food industry will be an important driver of jobs following the closure of Holden and we want to work together with the industry to ensure Adelaide’s northern suburbs become an industry hub for food processing and distribution.
“I congratulate Darren Thomas and his team from Thomas Foods for reaching this agreement and the State Government will be throwing its full support behind the delivery of this important project for South Australia’s food industry.”
Darren Thomas from Thomas Foods International said the new agreement with one of the world’s largest food companies is a significant development for the family owned company.
“To emphasise the scale of this agreement for us, it should be pointed out that CP Group have a reported turnover of US $43 billion and employ more than 300,000 people across 17 countries,” Mr Thomas said.
“Through this new facility, South Australian food would be valued-added locally in many different formats such as further processed, cooked or meal ready solutions - then exported to Asia and other countries around the world.
“For Thomas Foods, this will allow us to grow our workforce and send South Australian produce into more homes across the world.”
Today’s announcement follows a State Government trade delegation to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, involving more than 50 South Australian businesses.
Minister for Investment and Trade Martin Hamilton Smith said the Government is firmly committed to expanding trade and investment opportunities in the region.
“The South Australia-South East Asia Engagement Strategy is focused on identifying opportunities in attracting direct investment into South Australia, which will generate employment opportunities,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“The State Government has also committed $15 million over the next two years for the creation of an Investment Attraction Fund. “By partnering with international investors, South Australian businesses are opening up access to Asian export markets, brining new money into the economy and creating local jobs.”