PMFresh bags embattled salad manufacturer HS Fresh Food from administration

PMFresh bags embattled salad manufacturer HS Fresh Food from administration

Photo: PMFresh, via Facebook.

Tasmania-headquartered grower and ready-made salad manufacturer HS Fresh Food, known for such brands as Sunfresh, Gourmet Selections and Houston's Farm, has been picked up out of administration by rival PMFresh, formerly known as Primo Moraitis Fresh.

The sale agreement comes less than a month after Ben Campbell, Joanne Dunn and Vaughan Strawbridge of FTI Consulting were appointed as voluntary administrators of the vertically integrated HS Fresh Food, a company with an estimated 500-plus staff with operations in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and NSW.

In a release, administrators for the company said a sale agreement was signed on 8 July with completion set to occur by 31 July.

"Until this time the business will continue to operate under the control of the administrators," FTI said in a statement.

"The sale process resulted in a number of expressions of interest and non-binding indicative offers being received, but the PMFresh offer was the best offer received.

"Employees were advised of the sale in meetings that were held on Tuesday 9 July 2024, however, the final number of employees being offered future employment under the sale has yet to be communicated, as this will not be
known until transition plans are finalised which are expected to be done over the next three weeks."

PMFresh has more than 1,000 employees and is a supplier of a wide range of vegetables and ready-to-eat salads to Australia's largest retailers, fast food chains, catering businesses, and airlines.

PMFresh's predecessor Primo Moraitis was founded by fresh produce pioneer Nick Moraitis, who passed away in 2022. The Townsville-born entrepreneur also founded Moraitis Group, which received a majority investment from Hong Kong's Chevalier Group in 2013 before numerous divisions were sold off in the years that followed, including its tomato business to Perfection Fresh in 2015.

His sons Paul and Stephen Moraitis also went on to found Australia's leading provider of wholesale fruit and vegetables, Morco.

Neither of these businesses are connected however to PMFresh, headquartered in Sydney with Ivan Oshry, Christopher Watt and its CEO Benjamin Watt listed as directors. The company is owned by SPM Fresh Holdings, which in turn is owned by Salads of Australia Investments, both with the same three directors in addition to one other. 

 

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