ONE of Bendigo's biggest employers is considering options to ensure its future that could involve opening the company up to outside investors for the first time.
Hazeldene's Chicken Farms is the city's largest privately-owned business, and the company this week confirmed it is working with accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers to review its entire operations and to investigate investment opportunities that will underwrite future growth whilst strengthening its market position.
Executive director John Hazeldene said the company enjoyed a unique position in the highly competitive poultry industry, citing access to land for further growth as being central to any future plans.
"Our strength is in the fact we are regionally based," Mr Hazeldene said.
He said the company was open to expressions of interest from investors who the family believed they could work with to continue the company's expansion and secure its future growth, and that Pricewaterhouse Coppers was helping a process to identify potential investors.
He said there had been strong levels of inquiry from both national and international parties, but that any future partners would need to demonstrate they could work with customers, staff and the local community, just as the Hazeldene family had for the past 70 years.
HCF Chief Executive Officer Mark Heintz said the company brought in PwC after shareholders undertook a comprehensive review of the long-term aspirations of the business, its structure, future growth options and the need and desire to continually build on its history.
"PwC has a targeted list of potential investors, both national and international, some of whom already operate in the poultry or protein sector or are looking to invest in these markets" Mr Heintz said.
"Over the next six to eight weeks, we will establish whether any of these investors are interested in joining us to help our business continue to grow.
"For more than 70 years, the Hazeldene family has provided the drive and professionalism that has put the company at the forefront of poultry production in Australia and will continue to do so after these investigations and any resultant transaction is completed," he said.
"They are the people who have built this company to become the biggest private employer in the Bendigo region and they will only consider an incoming investor who aligns with their company's values and commits to funding further expansion."
Mr Heintz said the company was committed to the Bendigo region, and the evaluation of operations and options reflects the determination to build an even stronger company.
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