The Western Australian government has agreed to the sale of Perth’s largest wholesale market, Market City, with settlement expected to be reached late next month.
The A$135.5m (US$96.3m) deal will see Perth Markets Limited (PML) - an industry-based consortium of wholesalers, growers, retailers, market tenants and state-based market operators – take control of the Canning Vale site.
The announcement comes after the state government announced PML as its preferred bidder for the Market City operation in December last year.
“In a competitive tendering process that was open to national and international bidders, it is very pleasing that PML was able to structure a proposal that was deemed by the evaluation panel to be superior to those from other bidders,” said PML chairman Paul Omodei. “As people who live and breathe the fresh produce industry, we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Omodei said PML would focus on ensuring a smooth transition from public to private ownership for growers, wholesalers and retailers, while also ensuring Western Australians continued to have access to affordable fresh produce for generations to come.
“We will be examining all opportunities to improve services at Market City, as well as the potential for growth and development, to ensure we are delivering on our aim of maintaining a strong and secure market for generations to come,” Omodei.
The move to place the market’s ownership into the hands of the horticulture industry has drawn praise from Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) - the owner of the Brisbane Markets site – who themselves are fighting an hostile takeover bid from an independent operator.
“We firmly believe, from our own experience, in the value and benefits of industry based ownership of critical social infrastructure like wholesale fresh markets,” BML chairman Tony Joseph said. “We acknowledge the endorsement of the benefits of industry ownership of central produce markets that the decision of the WA Government represents.”