EXCLUSIVE: Solomon sells food business to Metcash

Queensland-based food distributor Solomon Food Group sells out to number three retailer Metcash

By Michael House

Major Queensland-based food wholesaler and distributor Solomon Food Group has sold out to foreign-owned number three retailer Metcash.

Metcash, one of the country's largest food distributors and parent company of the IGA supermarket chain, has confirmed the purchase of the business to ATN today.

Former owner and CEO Avraam Solomon did not want to speak about the deal, but Metcash says it completed the takeover in the last "couple of weeks".

A spokesperson says Solomon was targeted due to the strength of the business in south-east Queensland. The company has been looking at an acquisition since December.

"The Solomon purchase was executed as part of the organisation's aim to provide a national food service," he says.

"The strength of Solomon’s in south-east Queensland was a major incentive for the purchase."

Both Solomon and Metcash declined to comment on the purchase price.

Solomon Food Group, with its corporate headquarters in the Brisbane CBD, has depots on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and in Townsville, employing about 250 full-time staff and estimated in 2007 to be worth nearly $200 million.

The company, which ranked 42nd in the 2008 Q400 directory of top privately-owned businesses, purchased seafood wholesalers Gambaro's and Cairns-based Pantacchini's in 2007, adding to its existing interests in fresh produce and meat warehousing and distribution.

Solomon had previously talked to ATN about expanding the business further into New South Wales and Victoria.

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