Tomatoes die on the vine at an SP Exports property on Goodwood Rd, where neighbours say harvesting machinery has sat idle for weeks.
Tomatoes die on the vine at an SP Exports property on Goodwood Rd, where neighbours say harvesting machinery has sat idle for weeks.

SP Exports sell up to save business

MORE than 1160 hectares and four homes belonging to SP Exports have been put up for sale as the company's owners battle to get the enormous tomato farming operation back up and running.

Real Estate Now realtor Mark Mergard said 22 title deeds making up about eight properties were being sold off by SP Exports.

"The expressions of interest opened up about mid-December and they closed on January 13," Mr Mergard said.

"We have had unbelievable interest in them."

Mr Mergard said the interest had come from both within the region and overseas.

"We've had interest from people in a couple of different countries ... like America and England," he said.

"And we're probably dealing with four or five Australian consortiums."

It is believed the land up for sale does not include all of the SP Exports holdings, with their main packing and business shed at Kevin Livingston Dr not included in the sale.

The NewsMail understands SP Exports will also hold on to farming property and use the cash from the sales to try to recover the business.

Mr Mergard said the sales were likely to go through very soon.

"We're dealing with a number of companies and private buyers," he said.

"We're trying to finalise things and we're very close to selling.

"This is not a liquidation sale."

Mr Mergard said the quality of the properties, which included both residential land and farming land, meant they should fetch a decent return.

"They're really high-quality properties," he said.

"They've got really good values on the properties."

The properties up for sale are in several locations including Childers Rd, Mullers Rd, Goodwood Rd, Voss Rd and Webb Rd.

At one of their Goodwood Rd properties, hundreds of dead plants full of rotting tomatoes are languishing in a deserted field.

The scene at the SP Exports Kevin Livingston Dr packing shed and offices was similarly quiet yesterday, with only a few cars in the parking lot.

Managing director Andrew Philip is believed to have been at the offices in meetings all day.

Mr Philip did not answer calls from the NewsMail.


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