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New life for Sara Lee with new owners

Posted by Edgar Adams on 5 March 2024
New life for Sara Lee with new owners

Central Coast, Lisarow based Sara Lee was bought out of Administration by Brooke and Klark Quinn, the saviours of the iconic chocolate brand Darrell Lea some ten years ago.

The new owners took possession on 12th February and moved quickly to reassure staff that the business would continue to operate and that their jobs would be safe.

CEO Mark Mackaness who has been with Sara Lee since 2019 remains with the company.

Mr Mackaness joined Sara Lee as Managing Director when the business was owned by McCain Foods having acquired it from Sara Lee’s US parent in 2013.  McCains subsequently invested over $40 million in new technology and plant before selling it to New Zealand private equity firm South Island Office (SIO) for some $90 million and retaining Mr Mackaness. However, SIO loaded the business up with debt.

With Sara Lee’s ownership now with dedicated owners Mr Mackaness said that over the next three years the plan is to modernise Sara Lee’s offerings creating new products, trialing new products such as single serves and moving into new categories going beyond desserts and into breakfast food. Additionally, the plan is to push harder into the food service sector, which presently makes up 20 percent of the business.

At the time Sara Lee sold to the New Zealand private equity firm it was reported to have held 53% of the frozen dessert market across Australia and New Zealand.

Commenting on Sara Lee’s recent history Mr Mackaness said, Sara Lee experienced the same challenges that many within the Australian food industry also experienced. These included the post covid era of supply chain disruption of materials, labour and international shipping issues together with a fast moving inflationary environment that impacted the majority of costs across the business and disruption in passing this on with major supermarkets.


Author:Edgar Adams
Tags:Business News

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