Former RFG CEO Tony Alford. Photo: Kit Wise
Former RFG CEO Tony Alford. Photo: Kit Wise

Ex-RFG CEO’s latest business venture

TONY Alford, rather private former CEO of the scrambling Retail Food Group, has slipped out of his shell to be involved in what might be a 'cracking' new venture.

He's emerged with a role in a business that opened at Toowoomba before Christmas and aims to break into the $800 million-a-year eggs business.

Australian Pasteurised Eggs is based in a purpose-built $20 million factory at Wellcamp, on the edge of Toowoomba.

Company records show 59-year-old Tony's not the only ex-RFG executive with a presence - business partner Alicia Atkinson shows up too.

Australian Pasteurised Eggs' Geoff Sondergeld with Aveo National Food Services Manager John Casey
Australian Pasteurised Eggs' Geoff Sondergeld with Aveo National Food Services Manager John Casey

Her directorships include seats at the board tables of Australian Pasteurised Eggs and of holding entity The Original Safe Eggs Assured Company.

The project appears to have had a long gestation period - Australian Pasteurised Eggs was set up in February 2016.

The holding company was incorporated a little over a year later, has capital of $4 million, and is owned by Safe Eggs Australia and NPE (Consortium).

Safe Eggs is linked to the business's commercial director, Geoff Sondergold, but its 800 shares are dwarfed by NPE's 3200.

Geoff Sondergeld from Australian Pasteurised Eggs
Geoff Sondergeld from Australian Pasteurised Eggs

Tony's a director of NPE, along with Kyriakos Skoullous, who founded the Hudson Pacific cafe group and sold it to RFG for $88 million.

The sole NPE shareholder, with one redeemable preference share, is the 48-year-old Alicia.

The egg plant's a 2800 sqm facility built on a site bought for $1.43 million 18 months ago and is capable of processing half a million eggs a day.

The eggs are pasteurised in their shells in temperature-controlled water.

It seems highly likely that RFG was an intended customer when the egg plan was hatched - food-service industries are common users of pasteurised eggs because they reduce the salmonella risk.

Whether RFG, which is trimming its sails after a horror 12 months, wants to pay a 'safe' premium for its eggs remains to be seen.

An incident on the Gold Coast in 2016 might help the sale of pasteurised eggs in the Alford home town.

Twenty-two 22 people suffered food poisoning as a result of eating hollandaise sauce, made with raw eggs, at a cafe.

Australian Pasteurised Eggs appears already to have slipped into the Gold Coast market.

It's selling to aged-care homes, including those in the Aveo group which has operations in the city.

The Wellcamp egg partners also are in property selling mode - the egg factory is on the market with the lure of a 15-year lease to Australian Pasteurised Eggs.

They're probably hoping that, with an annual net income approaching $750,000, a sale will allow them to extract most of their investments.

The property's owned by company Vision Street which has Melbourne rag-trade player Mark Eddy among its directors.

Meanwhile, the egg partners appear to have positioned their factory rather well in terms of getting their product into the wider market around Australia.

It's on the doorstep of the Brisbane West airport and close to the new Toowoomba range second crossing.

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EXTRA BITS:

TOM Tate, mayor, might have had some news to tweet 18 months or so ago had a new property landed in his investment nest - Songbirds retreat on Mt Tamborine.

He apparently eyed the retreat, which has a Michelin star restaurant, with a view to improving and enlarging it but backed off after a spot of DD - due diligence.

Songbirds, on the market since 2012, was sold pre-Christmas to a Vanuatu buyer for $3.2 million by Kiwi owner Bonnie Rodwell.

 

THE building that housed a notorious long-closed northern NSW brothel has sold after a four-year effort and has been turned into a photographic and music-video studio with rentable rooms.

The purpose-built Chinderah bordello made headlines in 2000 when radiographer-turned-brothel operator Victor Elliott was shot dead at the gates.

It's been bought by a company linked to Brisbane businessman Bruce Thomas for $550,000, or $250,000 less than the Sydney owner initially sought.

 

ONE of the central Gold Coast's more up-market shopping centres appears set to get a large food hall in the vein of that at the Harrods store in London's Knightsbridge.

The centre's already clearing space for the hall, which one insider says could span up to 2000 sqm and possibly will include a bottleshop or two.

The hall apparently will be run by a group that already has a similar one running successfully in one of the nation's major cities.



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